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Aussie faces $68m piracy charges

A NSW Central Coast man accused of heading an Internet piracy gang which plundered $US50 million ($68 million) worth of music, film, game and software products faces the prospect of a US jail term.

The Commonwealth DPP last week applied for the extradition to the US of Hew Raymond Griffiths, 42, of Berkeley Vale. They want Griffiths, code-named "Bandido" and allegedly co-leader of the Drink Or Die Internet gang, to face trial for criminal copyright breaches, including a conspiracy charge.

But Griffiths is fighting the US move, which has already seen several Internet associates jailed. His lawyer told a Sydney magistrate last week Griffiths "had never set foot in the US", and argued he had committed no crime in Australia.

The jobless computer expert shares a modest white weatherboard home in Berkeley Vale with his father, Neil Griffiths, who said the pair had recently been forced to move from their Housing Department townhouse.

A knock on the door at 3.30am two years ago from Australian Federal Police was the first Mr Griffiths knew of the allegations against his son, he said. "I didn't know what he was doing on the computer," he said. "But it's all a wind-up. Of course I'll stand by my son."

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News source: News Interactive

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