Mega ‘Insane’: Who IS Dr Dotcom?
The 38 year-old multi millionaire, Kim Dotcom (formerly Schmidz before he changed his name) is the man behind one of the biggest and most infamous file sharing service in the world, Megaupload, based in Hong Kong.
A German native but residing in New Zealand, Dotcom or ‘Dr Evil’ as he is better known, now finds himself locked in a custody battle, wanted by the FBI in the US on charges of Internet piracy, copyright infringements and money laundering.
The 6ft 6″ former hacker was arrested at his country house known as ‘Dotcom Mansion’ by NZ police working on instructions from FBI, along with three others on Friday last and was found in a panic room located within the house.
Dotcom, who is said to be married with children, was getting ready to head to Hong Kong with his pregnant wife to give birth to twins when the arrest happened, according to NZ Herald.
The FBI wants him to be extradited to the States to face charges.
However, his lawyer argues he is not at risk of absconding, at a hearing held in Auckland yesterday.
Dotcom’s alleged partners also said to be facing extradition to the US include co-founder Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato, chief technical officer and Bram van der Kolk.
File sharing can be a lucrative business and US authorities believe he has made over $175 million from alleged activities. The file sharing service, set up in 2005, was shut down 19 January last by US Justice Dept.
Among the numerous content sharing services offered on Megaupload.com are ‘mega pix’ (photo sharing), ‘mega video’, ‘mega box’ (audio) and ‘mega porn’ where users can swap content freely.
|Dotcom denies all charges against him, with his lawyer, Paul Davidson, arguing the service was simply a novelty website rather than a hard money making operation.
“His business did not reproduce or copy material as alleged,” Davidson argued in thecourt hearding yesterday, and denied he was involved in a “mega-conspiracy.”
“I want to say that Mr Dotcom emphatically denies any criminal misconduct or wrongdoing such as alleged in the indictment.”
“He denies the existence of any mega conspiracy … or that he was involved in any criminal enterprise relating to infringing copyrighted works.”
Megaupload is believed to have hired Bill Clinton’s defense lawyer, Bob Bennett, to represent it in the US.
Dotcom applied for bail, however Judge David McNaughton did not give a decision yesterday but will deliver his verdict on bail application no later than Wednesday.
A total of 45 credit cards and three passports were found belonging to Dotcom in the house under the names Schmitz, Vestor and Dotcom during his arrest, according to Reuters.
However, his lawyer denied all credit cards were in use, saying he “collects them (credit cards), most of them are out of date.”
|The German was said to lead a lavish lifestyle akin to P Diddy or a Hollywood superstar, with girls, booze, fast cars and flash mansions, described as “insane” by a local source.
The arrest has also other file sharing services running scared including File Sonic who now say they have deactivated all services, while others like Dropbox and MediaFire could also face the brint of the law in the coming days.