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Court ruling allows Kim Dotcom to sue New Zealand spy agency

The New Zealand Court of Appeal has ruled that Kim Dotcom, the founder of the now-defunct online file-sharing platform Megaupload, can sue the country's foreign intelligence service for illegal surveillance.

Even though existing laws prevent the agency from spying on the country's citizens, New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was found to have conducted illegal surveillance on Dotcom before his home and Megaupload offices were raided in 2012. Apparently GCSB was under the false assumption that Dotcom, born in Germany, was yet to gain New Zealand citizenship.

The High Court of New Zealand last year ruled that Dotcom could sue both the GCSB and the police, on whose request the agency carried out the illegal surveillances. The decision was later challenged in the appeals court by the country's attorney general.

Dotcom, who was charged by the FBI with multiple offences including promoting online piracy, copyright infringement of worth $500 million (£332 million) as well as money laundering, is currently fighting against his extradition to the US. If convicted of all the charges, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

This latest victory is also likely to allow Dotcom's legal team to lay their hands over some crucial GCSB evidence related to the case.