'Megaconspiracy': NZ at centre of file sharing bust
Fri, 20 Jan 2012 6:00p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
New Zealand is at the centre of one of the world's biggest internet piracy investigations.
Dozens of police, including the Armed Offenders Squad, conducted dawn raids on behalf of the FBI on homes around Auckland, including the $30 million former Chrisco mansion.
Four men were arrested. One is a 37-year-old millionaire who goes by the name of Kim Dotcom.
He is the man behind the world's largest file-sharing site, Megaupload.com, which the FBI says is involved in large scale copyright breaches.
The four men appeared in the North Shore District Court late this afternoon as the FBI began extradition proceedings.
They are the brains behind an operation that is alleged to have cost copyright holders more than $US500 million in lost revenue.
Kim Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz in Germany, founded the company and is a Finnish citizen, resident of Hong Kong and now New Zealand.
The other three on the dock included Dutch programmer in charge Bram van der Kolk - who is also a New Zealand resident.
And two other Germans, chief marketing and sales officer Finn Batato and chief technical officer Mathias Ortmann.
They have been remanded in custody to appear in court again on Monday.
The four were arrested on warrants relating to breach of copyright offences in the United States, money laundering and racketeering.
Seventy-six officers raided Dotcom’s mansion in Coatesville at 6.45 this morning, arresting three men, and another in Orakei.
Three other suspects are still at large in other countries.
Raids took place around the world, under the coordination of the FBI. Search warrants were executed in eight other countries including Hong Kong, Europe and North America.
In New Zealand, police had to contend with a bodyguard - and seized two shotguns - but detectives say their raid went to plan.
“Be fair to say there was a range of security measures we had to get beyond, it wasn't just a case of knocking on the door,” says Detective inspector Grant Wormald
And as up to a dozen staff and family members remained at the Chrisco mansion, father raids were conducted on 10 other properties around Auckland in the search for assets.
Police have already seized $10 million, including New Zealand Government bonds, plus assets, with cars alone valued at $6 million.
The property police say is subject to forfeiture includes $US175 million, the contents of 64 bank accounts worldwide and several artworks.
Cars being seized included a 2010 Maserati, a Lamborghini, a 2008 Rolls Royce Phantom with the personalised plate “god”.
And 15 Mercedes Benzes with plates such as “stoned”, “mafia”, “hacker” and “guilty”.
Guilty or not, Megaupload has its supporters and the group known as anonymous claims to have succeeded in pulling down the US Department of Justice website and Warner Brothers. Just the first salvos in what could be a cyber war - triggered by four men in New Zealand
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24/02/2012 5:13:29 p.m.
what ever happened to innocent before proven guilty? he wasn't even convicted of anything only alleged and yet they take all his stuff? New Zealand what a joke.
25/01/2012 1:55:44 p.m.
SMarter than YOU wrote:
You do realize, that these are american gestapo F**kbags invading our country and exacting their 'justice', don't you? This is just a step towards the American Nazi regime (not actual Nazi's, just the current day equivalent) Any and every freedom loving person regardless of Nationality should be outraged by the US's overstepping of their jurisdiction.
23/01/2012 6:02:52 p.m.
No mention of the saw off shotgun he tried to pull on the police.
23/01/2012 2:57:24 p.m.
just shows you all the dirty money in the world still can't make you look pretty lol.
I laugh at these people defending this fat prick
he is nothing but a thief driven by an over blown ego.
23/01/2012 1:26:05 p.m.
Well, piracy was something that N.Z was unable to stop. Not effectively, anyway. If sopa goes ahead, the internet could be doomed. @blackie unfortunately, Obama doesn't quite have as much power as congress. Everyone with a brain i.e. everyone knows the sort of people Congress is made of. I'm going to say this one day ahead: R.I.P. the Internet: God knows when-2012.
23/01/2012 6:33:19 a.m.
I am surprised and disappointed that NZ would so easily be the US governments bitch. Hopefully dotcom won't be convicted. I love his personalized license plates, especially 'god'. Anyone interested in a cool new way to share what they want with whoever they want should go to www.tixati.com and check out Tixati. With Tixati no government assholes or anyone else can make you take down what you share. Sharing will never die.
22/01/2012 10:39:22 p.m.
Hey TV3. We are not in the USA ok, cut the Foxnews horseshite and get back to some real journalism. Try holding these politically motivated police stooges feet to the fire for once instead of passing their press releases off as investigated reports.
22/01/2012 2:28:37 a.m.
NZ should be ashamed of itself!
21/01/2012 10:21:28 a.m.
He looks the spitting image of the late British comedian Benny Hill in this picture.
21/01/2012 10:09:00 a.m.
Let me ask you this. The U.S.,China,Russia & India. Basically own the internet. Kim donated a substantual amount to the christchurch appeal. The U.S. gov. didn't feel it was necessary to do anything about the new orleans flooding until global uproar forced their hand. China has a one child policy and is constantly stealing industrial secrets worth trillions of dollars. Russia is so corrupt no one believes the government is in charge anymore, It's become a plutocrasy (country run by corporations not the people.)India has a murder on sight policy for female infants. The stars of the movies in question don't think twice about buying multi million dollar homes but have no will to help the poor in there own country.(with the exeption of a few ie. oprah, brad & angie, madonna, bill gates and few more.) If we had more people like kim we may have a civilisation thats not stuck up it's own self righteous ass.
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