By James Murray
The indictment issued against Kim Schmitz’s massive file sharing website Megaupload reveals a long list of assets to be forfeited as part of today’s arrests.
It also gives details on how Megaupload conducted its file sharing business, including a strategy whereby users were offered cash or other financial incentives to upload popular content, often under copyright, to the website.
The indictment says millions of dollars worth of payments were made to uploaders.
Megaupload made its money through online advertising and premium accounts, which had faster downloads and fewer account limitations.
It is estimated the company raised around $150 million from premium accounts.
The list of 110 assets due to be forfeited by the defendants is also revealing.
They include the details of numerous bank accounts and trusts – including a Kiwibank account and a trust with law firm Simspon Grierson held by ‘Kim Dotcom’.
The first item on the list is a hefty $175 million US dollars, the same amount as the reported income of the company listed at the beginning of the indictment.
Read the full indictment from the US Justice Department
Further assets include expensive cars and artworks.
The list of cars includes:
- 14 Mercedes Benz – with personalised number plates such as ‘MAFIA’, ‘GUILTY’, ‘POLICE’ AND ‘HACKER’
- 1 Maserati
- 1 Lamborghini
- 2 Cadillacs
- 2 Toyotas
- 1 Harley Davidson
- 1 Von Dutch custom made bike
- 1 See-Doo Jet-Ski
- 1 Mini Cooper
Amongst the artworks are pieces by Olaf Mueller, who is a well known celebrity photographer in Hong Kong.
There are also several statues including a Predator statue and an anonymous Hooded Sculpture.
A sculpture by avant-garde artist Colin Christian is sought. Christian’s bio says he finds inspiration from old sci-fi movies, pinup girl/supermodels, anime, ambient electronic music and H.P. Lovecraft.
Other items on the list probably pertain to Megaupload’s business operations including 60 Dell R710 computer servers, which cost around $8000 each. Massive LCD televisions with screen widths ranging from 82” to 108” are also on the list.
Finally, the US Justice Department requires forfeiture of a raft of associated domain names:
Megaclicks.co; Megastuff.info; Megaclicks.org; Megaworld.mobi;
Megastuff.org; Megaclick.us; Mageclick.com; HDmegaporn.com;
Megavkdeo.com; Megaupload.com; Megaupload.org; Megarotic.com;
Megaclick.com; Megavideo.com; Megavideoclips.com; Megaporn.com.
The indictment also lists the five charges against the Megaupload defendants, which largely relate to copyright infringement.
Films such as Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, The Twilight Saga, Thor and Taken are named specifically.
Large financial transfers are listed between co-conspirators, some of which have been listed as being for yacht rental.
Details of incriminating emails are on the indictment some of which are from Megaupload users.
One email stated:
“I used to buy monthly fees to help with the cost of you guys doing business . … I miss being about to view tv shows on you service . My most favourite was True blood and battle star Gallactica . I would be happy to continue to pay for the service , 50
but some thing would needs to change. I don't mind your services be bogged down from time to time. I don't mind paying, but i need to get something for the service i pay for.”
True Blood and Battle Star Galactica are both copyrighted.
Read the full Megaupload story here.