By James Murray
The US Justice Department has shut down Megaupload.com – one of the world’s largest file sharing websites – and New Zealand is at the centre of the story.
The site’s founder Kim Schmitz was arrested in Auckland today along with two others.
Click here to read the full Megaupload, Kim Schmitz story
Schmitz is a colourful character to say the least.
The previously convicted computer hacker was arrested at his house in Coatesville – a $30 million mansion previously owned by Richard and Ruth Bradley of Chrisco Hamper fame. The house, which he leases after being turned down in his application to buy, is reported to be the most expensive house in New Zealand.
On his Facebook page Schmitz poses with a glamour model, who in turn poses with a centre spread in which she is posing naked.
Radiolive editor Duncan Wilson has compiled a photogallery showing Schmitz at his most eccentric
His nickname is ‘Kimble’, but is also referred to as dotcom, and he has posted significantly on a recent copyright infringement story involving Universal and YouTube.
Confusingly, on December 17 he posted “share is shit”.
He also has a YouTube presence which he largely uses to promote his involvement in the Gumball 3000 race.
In his most watched video he talks about being stopped by the Morrocan police and bribing them to let him go and delay another competitor. Unfortunately, his plans go awry and he later spots the black Porsche in front of him.
Schmitz’s response – a shunt in the back for the Porsche.
Click on the video tab above to watch the video.
Schmidt came to notoriety in Germany as a teenage internet entrepreneur.
He was given a two-year probationary sentence for hacking into corporate computer systems and involvement with gangs.
He was made to pay $195,000 in fines.
According to German media he made his fortune post-arrest after investing in tech stocks and selling his majority stake in internet security company, DataProtect.
In 2001, Schmitz bought letsbuyit.com, a failing ecommerce company – this was another ill-starred project that lead to a further arrest for Schmitz.
Schmitz has also been deported from Thailand, according to reports, and described himself as “Royal Highness Kimble the First” on his return to Germany, where he was once again arrested.
He has more recently been operating out of Hong Kong, where the Megaupload company was based.
Ian Wishart ran an investigative piece on Schmitz in 2010, where it was revealed he was registered for business in Hong Kong as “Kim Tim Jim Vestor” and acting as the director of many Mega- firms – including Megarotic Ltd and Megaupload.
Megaupload was established in 2005 and allowed users to upload files to their service, the files were then given a specific URL which could be shared with other users who wished to download it.
Despite his several arrests and convictions Schmitz was granted permanent residency by the New Zealand government.
However, his application to buy his $30 million mansion was turned down after Associate Finance Minister Simon Power and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson decided he failed the "good character" test to buy land here.
At the time Schmitz criticised the decision on the grounds that New Zealand’s legal system is lenient on murderers.
"Officially I am as clean as it gets. I am not a bad person with a bad character and, in my opinion, Simon Power is small minded and unreasonable.
"In New Zealand, murderers have been released from prison within a decade. You would think that the New Zealand Government believes in giving people a second chance."
He is married to Mona, who he has three children by.
Schmitz faces a twenty year jail sentence if convicted.