News24

Megaupload founder denies piracy

2012-01-23 07:44

Wellington - The founder of file-sharing site Megaupload.com appeared in a New Zealand court on Monday demanding to be released from prison and denying he had done anything illegal.

A judge reserved a decision until at least Tuesday on Kim Dotcom's bail application as details emerged of his lavish champagne lifestyle involving fast cars and women while living in a mansion near Auckland.

Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was arrested with three accomplices following a raid on his home on Friday and he faces extradition to the US to answer charges related to one of the largest ever cases of copyright theft.

He is among seven people indicted by the US Justice Department and FBI, which said he is "responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites".

Dotcom generated more than $175m in criminal proceeds and caused more than $500m in harm to copyright owners by offering pirated copies of movies, TV programmes and other content, according to a statement.

Flight risk

Dotcom has vigorously denied all charges against him, with his lawyer Paul Davison telling the bail hearing the 37-year-old German, who has New Zealand and Hong Kong residency, has not been involved in any criminal activity.

"This is not a case where there will be any concession by Mr Dotcom," Davison told the North Shore District Court in Auckland.

However, prosecutor Anne Toohey described Dotcom as an "extreme" flight risk and explained that he had fled to Thailand when he was previously wanted on charges in Germany.

She said electronic bail was also opposed as it would give Dotcom likely access to phones and the internet.

Meanwhile, a report in the New Zealand Herald has detailed claims about Dotcom's lifestyle how he had a swimming pool filled with imported spring water.

And a documentary uploaded online shows Dotcom, surrounded by topless women and men spraying champagne on board a super yacht during a "crazy weekend" in Europe reported to have cost $10m.

"Fast cars, hot girls, super yachts and amazing parties. Decadence rules," said the blurb accompanying the documentary, which Dotcom dedicated to "all my fans".

New Zealand police seized luxury cars worth $4.8m, including a 1959 pink Cadillac and a Rolls Royce Phantom, during Friday's raid on Dotcom's Auckland mansion.

Comments
  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-23 10:37

    HIS DETENTION IS ILLEGAL IN THE FIRST PLACE AND AN ARREST SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN EFFECTED. Since when is it acceptable for the New Zealand authorities to detain someone who is not a US citizen on US charges. Big Brother is getting way to big for his boot, its time to bring him down to size.

      ina.vandermerwe - 2012-01-23 11:08

      Agreed and what happened to "innocent until proven guilty'?

  • Giancarlo - 2012-01-25 21:09

    The Many Great Workings of SOPA! Even though it has been signed off SOPA is getting down and dirty. Stand up as a user of the net and lets show these law makers who put them in their position.

  • Daniel - 2012-01-26 07:29

    Kim is just a big idiot. He should have mirrored all his servers and data in a country like SA with zero piracy laws. If the word get out they coming for you, you secure wipe your servers in the US and the failover kicks in and network traffic gets route to the SA servers. It will be a bit slower but your business is still going and there is no evidence on US soil - so SOPA can go eat it self....

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