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Found 18 results

  1. Kim Dotcom has booked a significant victory in his battle against U.S. efforts to seize assets worth millions of dollars. In a decision handed down this morning, Justice Ellis granted Dotcom interim relief from having a $67m forfeiture ordered recognized in New Zealand. Dotcom informs TF that the victory gives his legal team new momentum. In the long-running case of the U.S. Government versus Kim Dotcom, almost every court decision achieved by one side is contested by the other. A big victory for the U.S. back in March 2015 is no exception. After claiming that assets seized during the 2012 raid on Megaupload were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government asked the court to forfeit bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions connected to the site’s operators. Dotcom and his co-defendants protested, but the Government deemed them fugitives and therefore disentitled to seek relief from the court. As a result District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government against assets worth an estimated $67m. Following a subsequent request from the U.S., New Zealand’s Commissioner of Police moved to have the U.S. forfeiture orders registered locally, meaning that the seized property would become the property of the Crown. Authorization from the Deputy Solicitor-General was granted April 9, 2015 and an application for registration was made shortly after. In response, Kim Dotcom and co-defendant Bram Van der Kolk requested a judicial review of the decision and sought interim orders that would prevent the Commissioner from progressing the registration application, pending a review. The Commissioner responded with an application to stop the judicial review. In a lengthy decision handed down this morning, Justice Ellis denied the application of the Commissioner while handing a significant interim victory to Kim Dotcom. Noting that the “fugitive disentitlement†doctrine forms no part of New Zealand common law, Justice Ellis highlighted the predicament faced by those seeking to defend themselves while under its constraints. “The application of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine to a person who is exercising a bi-laterally recognized right to defend an eligibility hearing, with the result that he is deprived of the financial means to mount that defense, is to put that person on the horns of a most uncomfortable and (the plaintiffs would say) unconstitutional dilemma,†Justice Ellis writes. Recognizing that Dotcom and Van der Kolk have a “substantial position to preserveâ€, Justice Ellis says there would be “very real consequences†if they were unable to do so. “If the provisional view I have formed about the unavailability of post-registration relief is correct, authorizing the registration application to proceed now might deprive the plaintiffs of any ability to defend the extradition or to pursue their appeals against the forfeiture order in the United States,†Justice Ellis said. “I have little hesitation in concluding that interim relief should therefore be granted.†The New Zealand Commissioner of Police is now barred from taking further action to register the U.S. forfeiture orders until the court indicates otherwise. Kim Dotcom informs TorrentFreak that his New Zealand legal team are “relieved†by the decision and can’t wait to “get back to work and beat this bogus extradition case.†Elsewhere, the battle continues. Dotcom says that the decisions handed down in New Zealand will be presented in Hong Kong in an attempt to get more assets unfrozen there. Over in the U.S. there is also much work to be done. “Our US lawyers are still bound by the US forfeiture judgment and won’t be allowed to accept funds from my unfrozen assets without a significant risk to them, unless the US government allows that, which is unlikely. But we have appealed the US Forfeiture judgment in the US and the team is optimistic that we will prevail,†he notes. Megaupload’s U.S.-based lawyer Ira Rothken joined Dotcom in welcoming today’s ruling. “We are grateful that the NZ court ruled in favor of fairness, natural justice, and due process today by stopping US efforts to take Kim Dotcom’s NZ assets for doing nothing more than opposing extradition to the US – a country he has never been to,†Rothken said. In closing, a fiery Dotcom reiterated his intention to keep battling. “The big fights are yet to come and I can’t wait to expose the US government and Hollywood for the most unlawful and corrupt law enforcement action ever taken against an Internet service provider. US attorney Jay Prabhu, the DOJ clown who lost control of the Megaupload domain recently, will only find a job at the MPAA after we are done with him,†Dotcom concludes. https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-thwarts-huge-u-s-govt-asset-grab-150603/
  2. Kim Dotcom has succeeded in getting more of his seized funds released by the courts in New Zealand. In addition to millions for legal expenses, the entrepreneur will receive $128K per month including $60K to pay mansion rent, $25,600 to cover staff and security, plus $11,300 for grocery and other expenses. How much does it cost to enjoy a reasonable standard of living in the modern world? A couple of thousand dollars a month? Three thousand? Four? For Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, none of these amounts scratch the surface, a problematic situation considering all of his assets were previously seized by the U.S. and New Zealand governments. In February a “broke†and “destitute†Dotcom appeared before Justice Patricia Courtney, asking for living expenses and a massive cash injection to pay historical and current legal fees. Dotcom was previously granted around US$15,000 per month to live on but high costs had left him “pennilessâ€. Following the hearing Justice Courtney’s ruling is largely good news for Dotcom, with the Judge taking into consideration claims by authorities that the entrepreneur has funds in a trust that could help pay his expenses. “The trust’s major asset is its shareholding in Mega Ltd, said to be worth more than $30m (US$22.6m). In evidence Mr Dotcom said that there were difficulties in selling Mega shares because they were blocked from being sold until the planned listing of Mega, which is now scheduled for late May 2015 (though it is possible that this date will be pushed back). There was no evidence to the contrary,†the Judge’s ruling reads. “I have concluded that Mr Dotcom does not have the ability to meet his legal and reasonable living expenses from trust assets because, on the evidence, those assets are not sufficiently liquid.†Noting that he still owes former lawyers around US$1.5m, the Judge said that Dotcom’s estimate for financing his legal battle against extradition is between US$1.5m and US$3m. This amount will be released from currently restrained government bonds. Next up was the Dotcom family’s accommodation costs. Rent on the now-famous mansion amounts to US$754,000 per annum under a lease Dotcom signed in February 2013 and which expires in the same month 2016. The Judge decided that terminating that lease would result in additional costs. “If [Dotcom] were to terminate the lease in order to find a more modest home, he would immediately be exposed to a significant contractual liability for the existing rental in addition to the costs of any new accommodation,†the Judge writes. “Little would be saved by requiring Mr Dotcom to move into more modest accommodation pending the expiry of the lease; it is more likely that the total amount required to house Mr Dotcom and his children and meet his lease commitment would actually prove greater than simply remaining where he is. “I therefore accept that, in the particular circumstances of this case, a figure of $80,000 (US$60,300) per month is reasonable for accommodation.†The Judge also considered Dotcom’s claims for items like security, staff wages and other general expenses. Dotcom currently has eight staff but the Judge felt that five would be sufficient to assist with cleaning, cooking, shopping, managing the grounds and caring for Dotcom’s children. “I allow $25,000 ($18,850) per month for staff,†the Judge said. Turning to Dotcom’s request for $20,000 (US$15,000) for groceries, fuel and maintenance etc, the Judge said this was a little high considering Dotcom’s estranged wife Mona could be expected to chip in. “On the basis that the children’s mother can be expected to contribute to some of these costs I consider that the figure of $20,000 (US$15,000) is a little high and would reduce that to $15,000 (US$11,300) per month,†the Judge added. In addition to the legal fees mentioned earlier, in total Dotcom was awarded $170,000 (US$128,000) per month to cover living expenses. “Mr Dotcom may have access to that figure each month pending the expiry of the lease on the property,†the Judge said. “At that point I would expect that the position will be reviewed.†https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-awarded-millions-plus-128k-per-month-expenses-150502s/
  3. Kim Dotcom's upcoming extradition hearing has been delayed by three months. The procedure was set to go ahead in just four weeks but the High Court says that would give the entrepreneur insufficient time to prepare his case. It will now take place no earlier than September 1, 2015. While trying to recoup as much of his seized wealth as possible, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is determined to avoid being sent to the United States where he faces the largest copyright case in history. On four previous occasions the German-born businessman has been granted delays to his inevitable extradition hearing but in March his luck appeared to run out. Through his legal team Dotcom asked the North Shore District Court for an adjournment until October, claiming that more time was need to prepare his case and those of co-defendants Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk. The request was denied. Last month the parties returned to court with a request for a judicial review. Today and with some reservations, Justice Sarah Katz at the High Court granted the application, sending the matter back to the District Court to set a new hearing to take place no earlier than September 1. Justice Katz said that she believed that the delay was necessary for Dotcom and his associates to prepare their cases and have a fair hearing. “I have therefore concluded, with some reluctance (given the time that has elapsed since the plaintiffs were first brought before the courts) that the interests of natural justice require an adjournment of the 2 June 2015 extradition hearing date,†Justice Katz said. Previously, legal team issues and associated financing problems have prompted Dotcom to seek delays to his extradition hearing, but this morning the Judge indicated that the current delay shouldn’t herald additional claims. “This [adjournment] should not be taken by the plaintiffs, however, as a signal that any ongoing funding or representation difficulties (if they arise) would be likely to justify further adjournments,†Justice Katz said. “On the contrary, the plaintiffs must take full responsibility for preparing for their extradition hearing on whatever new date is allocated, with whatever level of legal support they are able to secure.†The United States has been particularly vocal on Dotcom’s financial position with claims that the entrepreneur “improperly divested himself†of shares in cloud-hosting service Mega when that money could have been used for his defense. The Judge addressed those claims in today’s ruling. “[Dotcom’s] Trust Me Trust is said to be a sham and Mr Dotcom’s conduct in relation to it is said to amount to equitable fraud,†the judgment notes, adding that if such an allegation was true, further delays to any trial would not be tolerated. In the event, Justice Katz said the validity of the U.S. government’s claims would be determined in separate proceedings. “For present purposes I must give Mr Dotcom the benefit of the doubt on the issue. Further, the assets of the Trust Me Trust, whoever may ultimately be entitled to them, are currently subject to freezing orders,†Justice Katz wrote. Finally, Dotcom co-defendant Finn Batato, who previously applied for legal aid due to a poor financial situation, will now have to defend himself after that application was turned down. However, that is not viewed as a problem by the Judge. “Mr Batato will be able to derive significant benefit from the work undertaken by his former legal team prior to their withdrawal. He will also derive significant benefit from the fact that the other three plaintiffs are legally represented and the plaintiffs are taking a collaborative approach to extradition issues,†the judgment reads. While today’s judgment appears to rule out further delays to Dotcom’s extradition hearing, the history of this case has shown us to expect the unexpected. https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-avoids-u-s-clutches-for-three-more-months-150501/
  4. As the battle over Kim Dotcom's fate continues, the entrepreneur was back in court today appealing the decision not to delay a June extradition hearing. But while Dotcom enjoyed support from a reported 10-strong legal team, former Megaupload colleague Finn Batato appeared lawyerless amid an application for legal aid. The now three-year cases of Kim Dotcom versus the New Zealand and United States governments have developed into a massive legal grind. Almost every adverse decision affecting either side finds itself subjected to appeal wherever possible, with neither of the opposing parties prepared to concede defeat. For Dotcom, the purposes of the battles are obvious. While trying to recoup as much of his seized wealth as possible, the Megaupload founder is determined to avoid extradition to the United States where he faces the largest copyright-focused case in history. On four occasions the German-born businessman has succeeded in having his extradition hearing delayed but last month his luck appeared to have run out. With a June 2015 hearing looming, Dotcom’s legal team asked the North Shore District Court for an adjournment until October, claiming that the time remaining was not enough to prepare for such a complicated case. In the event the court refused to grant a delay to a hearing that will decide whether Dotcom and co-defendants Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk should be sent to the United States to stand trial. The decision led to Dotcom’s lawyers applying for a judicial review. This morning the parties were back in court yet again, arguing that a four-month delay is necessary in order for Dotcom and his associates to prepare their cases. Led by top lawyer Ron Mansfield, the High Court welcomed the German’s legal team to hearing set to last two days At least for now, Dotcom’s cash situation doesn’t appear to be hindering his defense. According to 3News the German had a 10-strong legal team behind him this morning. The same could not be said about Megaupload co-defendant Finn Batato, however. A fellow German and former chief marketing officer at Megaupload, Batato arrived at the High Court this morning without a lawyer in tow. Famously filmed tearing around the Nürburgring circuit with Dotcom and racing driving Kimi Raikkonen, Batato told the court he would be representing himself. After allowing Batato to move from the public gallery to sit among Dotcom’s lawyers, the Court heard that Batato had made an application for legal aid, a system of government funding designed to ensure people aren’t denied justice because they can’t afford a lawyer. Grant Illingworth, QC, a 30-year legal veteran with more than 30 Court of Appeal cases under his belt, argued that the complexity of the extradition and Batato’s legal position meant that the hearing should be delayed. “Mr Batato is waiting on a legal aid application. He has no lawyer and won’t have one unless legal aid is granted,†he said. According to NZHerald, Illingworth told the Court that not enough information had been supplied relating to how charges from the US matched with crimes under New Zealand law . “We’re in a hopeless position as far as complying with the timetable… we can’t comply with it,†he said. If the appeal is successful it will be the fifth time that the extradition hearing has been delayed since the now-infamous Megaupload shutdown of 2012. In the meantime Dotcom awaits a decision on whether an undisclosed dangerous driving offense willaffect his residency in New Zealand. https://torrentfreak.com/dotcom-appeals-extradition-delay-ruling-colleague-lawyerless-150421/
  5. Even as Kim Dotcom spends millions fighting extradition to the U.S., a relatively minor issue could see him kicked out of New Zealand in a matter of weeks. When applying for residency in 2010, Dotcom failed to declare a dangerous driving speeding conviction, a matter that could now escalate into deportation from the country. He’s one of the most famous people in the online space and the founder of the site at the heart of the world’s largest ever copyright infringement lawsuit, yet a relatively minor indiscretion has the potential to derail Kim Dotcom in a matter of weeks. It all stems back to September 10, 2009 when a police radar gun logged speed-loving Dotcom doing 149km/h (92mph) in a 50km/h (30mph) zone. According to the authorities police gave chase, eventually catching up with Dotcom’s 3.6-liter AMG Mercedes 1.7km (1 mile) later close to his Coatesville mansion. Explaining his three times over-the-limit endeavor as a “stupid mistakeâ€, Dotcom later pleaded guilty by letter four days later. During the hearing the court heard that the entrepreneur had been “testing†a new car. “When spoken to by police the defendant stated he had seen an 80km/h sign. He further stated that he stepped on the gas for 3-4 seconds and then braked and reduced his speed to the speed limit. He also stated he wanted to test the acceleration of the vehicle,†the records state. Despite Dotcom expressing regret for his actions, the judge fined him $500 plus $130 costs and banned him from driving for six months. Now, almost five years later, the case is coming back to haunt Dotcom after he failed to declare the motoring conviction on his New Zealand residency application eight months after the offense. In the (blurred) image below released under the Official Information Act, item three shows a ‘No’ response to the question “Have you or any of your family members included in your application, ever been: Convicted of an offense including traffic offenses committed within the last five years, involving dangerous driving [or] driving having consumed excessive alcohol. The same immigration records reveal that Dotcom disclosed both his 1994 hacking conviction and a 2001 suspended sentence for insider trading, but both were disregarded having been dealt with under Germany’s “clean slate†legislation. Nevertheless, it now appears that Dotcom’s position as a New Zealand resident is under threat due to his dangerous driving conviction and subsequent non-disclosure. According to NZHerald, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse could decide within the month whether Dotcom will be allowed to remain in New Zealand or be kicked out of the country. Dotcom insists that the omission was the result of a misunderstanding with his advisors but the discovery was considered serious enough to prompt a high-level deportation inquiry. “In the interests of fairness and natural justice, Mr Dotcom and his advisers have been asked to make submissions on the matter by 4 May,†Immigration NZ said in a statement. “Once that process is complete a decision will then be made by the Minister of Immigration on whether Mr Dotcom is liable for deportation.†The potential for deportation (albeit to either Finland or Germany, not the United States) only adds to Dotcom’s woes. Last month the United States seized dozens of millions of dollars worth of the Megaupload founder’s assets and in June he’ll face an extradition hearing having had a request for postponement denied. Whether Dotcom will be able to deflect ejection from New Zealand on either or both counts remains to be seen, but the tycoon certainly sees himself being backed into a corner. “Dear Mr. Dotcom,†he wrote this morning on Twitter. “Here are your options: Extradition or Deportation. Regards, The New Zealand Government.†https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-speeding-offense-could-lead-to-deportation-150416/
  6. The U.S. Government has won its civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. As a result, the U.S. now owns Kim Dotcom's bank accounts, cars, art and other property worth dozens of millions of dollars. Megaupload's founder describes the ruling as unjust and says his team will file an appeal at a higher court. Following the 2012 raid on Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, U.S. and New Zealand authorities seized millions of dollars in cash and other property. Claiming the assets were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. Megaupload’s defense heavily protested the request but was found to have no standing, as Dotcom and his colleagues can be seen as fugitives. A few hours ago District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government. This means that the contested assets, which are worth an estimated $67 million, now belong to the United States. “It all belongs to the U.S. government now. No trial. No due process,†Dotcom informs TF. More than a dozen Hong Kong and New Zealand bank accounts have now been forfeited (pdf) including some of the property purchased through them. The accounts all processed money that was obtained through Megaupload’s alleged illegal activities. The list of forfeited assets further includes several luxury cars, such as a silver Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM and a 1959 pink Cadillac, two 108″ Sharp LCD TVs and four jet skis. The memorandum issued by Judge O’Grady repeats many of the allegations in the original indictment. It lists links to infringing materials that could be found on the site and claims that Megaupload purposefully obfuscated its illegal intent. Dotcom refutes these claims as “Hollywood nonsense†and maintains that Megaupload was operating legally and cooperated with copyright holders when required. “The default judgment is so thick with DOJ and Hollywood nonsense that one might think they drafted it,†Dotcom says. The New Zealand based entrepreneur believes that it’s been an unfair battle thus far, and with his assets now going to the U.S. it’s certainly not getting any easier. But while the ruling is a huge blow, it also opens up the possibility to have the case reviewed by a higher court. “For the first time we get the opportunity to test the decisions of this Judge at a higher court. Because of the way his previous rulings were designed he made an appeal impossible. But we now can and probably will appeal O’Grady’s decision on fugitive disentitlement and forfeiture,†Dotcom notes. For now, however, the successful forfeiture request is the U.S. Government’s first major victory against Megaupload. Meanwhile, Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload defendants are still waiting to hear whether they will be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. The extradition hearing will start early June, after a request from Dotcom’s lawyers to postpone it was turned down earlier this week. https://torrentfreak.com/u-s-government-wins-dozens-of-millions-from-kim-dotcom-150326/
  7. Kim Dotcom was in court today pleading for access to his seized assets. A reportedly "destitute" Dotcom asked for the release of US$152,000 a month for living expenses and as much as US$3m for legal fees. The Megaupload founder said if funds aren't forthcoming, living in a mansion may no longer be an option. After years of enjoying a lifestyle most people could only dream of, Kim Dotcom’s name has become almost synonymous with spending to excess. There are dozens of photos showing the Megaupload founder on yachts surrounded by exotic beauties and specially commissioned films depicting his passion for high performance cars. In 2012, however, the brakes were applied somewhat when United States and New Zealand authorities shutdown Megaupload and seized millions in assets. Ever since, Dotcom has periodically requested access to those funds, and has succeeded in obtaining large sums on a number of occasions. But after reportedly burning through almost all released funds, a “broke and destitute†Dotcom was back in the High Court today seeking the release of yet more cash from the US$9m seized by New Zealand authorities three years ago. Appearing before Justice Patricia Courtney, Dotcom requested living expenses and a massive cash injection to pay historical and current legal fees. Dotcom was previously granted around US$15,000 per month to live on but the entrepreneur said that the cost of running a family and a mansion had left him “pennilessâ€. And, according to RadioNZ, Dotcom still owes a small fortune to his former legal team who quit last year when the entrepreneur previously ran out of funds. QC Paul Davison, who had fought Dotcom’s corner since the 2012 raid, is reportedly owed around US$380,000 while lawfirm Simpson Grierson is owed around US$1.5m. To cover his living expenses, at least for now, Dotcom today requested the release of US$152,000 per month plus up to US$3m to put towards his legal defense. Needless to say, the Crown has been putting up a fight, but in common with all things Dotcom, there are other complexities to consider. Last year Dotcom and his wife Mona separated in a wave of publicity, with the latter allegedly fleeing their shared mansion on a golf cart in the middle of the night. Since her ‘escape’ the former model has appeared in several magazine articles in which she provided insight into her life with Kim. The latest, which reported her new love life and a $60,000 Mercedes gift to a “toyboy loverâ€, inspired Dotcom to take to Twitter. “I helped & hired a 17yr old troubled kid to play Xbox with Mona’s brothers. 1 year ago he decided to play with Mona,†Kim wrote. On February 20, the apparent problems continued, with Dotcom reporting that Mona had applied to the High Court asking that it should “decline Mr Dotcom’s application… to release frozen assets for his legal defense.’ Mona Dotcom’s position is an interesting one. Even though she’s not part of the U.S. copyright case against her estranged husband and reportedly not part of Kim’s life anymore, she is the controller of the family trust and the millions it contains. Mona withdrew her opposition to Kim’s application today which prompted Crown lawyer David Boldt to suggest that Mona could release funds from the trust to her husband. However, the fact that the couple are in a “separation battle†over their shared assets was quickly pointed out by a reportedly “amused†Kim Dotcom. Turning to Dotcom’s current home, the now-famous Coatesville mansion, Boldt asked Kim Dotcom if moving to something more frugal might be an option. “Have you thought about moving into a house that doesn’t cost you $1m a year?†he said. “Which landlord is going to rent to me? I don’t have even a bank account,†Dotcom replied. Noting that he didn’t want to uproot his children and that the family had spent $6.8m improving the place, Dotcom conceded that if his financial situation didn’t improve, he may have to relocate. A decision will be handed down shortly. http://torrentfreak.com/destitute-kim-dotcom-begs-high-court-for-millions-150226/
  8. Mega founder Kim Dotcom has saved Christmas for many Playstation and Xbox gamers. In what he describes as a Christmas Miracle, Kim Dotcom appears to have stopped Lizard Squad's DDoS attacks by handing out 3,000 vouchers for premium Mega accounts, worth $99 a piece. When Xbox and Playstation players wanted to test their Christmas gifts a few hours ago, they were welcomed by an unpleasant surprise. Lizard Squad, who repeatedly DDoSed the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live’s servers in recent months, were back with a Christmas gift nobody asked for. Another DDoS attack resulting in yet more downtime. One of the affected players was Kim Dotcom, who’s an avid Xbox player himself. But instead of cursing Lizard Squad to high heaven he decided to make them an offer. Although the general belief may be that it’s best not to negotiate with “terrorists,†Dotcom decided to give it a try. “Hi @LizardMafia, I want to play #Destiny on XBOX Live. I’ll give your entire crew Mega lifetime premium vouchers if you let us play. Cool?†he tweeted. Lizard Squad is apparently easy to please as they were willing to stop the attacks in return for 3,000 free cloud hosting vouchers. After getting approval from Mega’s management, Dotcom and Lizard Squad eventually came to terms through Twitter’s back-channel. Once the vouchers were in Lizard Squad’s possession, the attacks did indeed slow down and Christmas was saved. While some still experienced some outages due to the earlier attacks, many players were able to join their favorite games again. “Thanks @KimDotcom for the vouchers–you’re the reason we stopped the attacks. @MegaPrivacy is an awesome service,†Lizard Squad tweeted, confirming the successful intervention. Dotcom, meanwhile, is happy that he can play Destiny but wishes that his other troubles could be resolved this easily too. Whether the U.S. Department of Justice will accept Mega vouchers is doubtful though. “Obviously, diplomacy works. I recommend that the U.S. Government gives it a try. #MakeLoveNotWar #UseMegaVouchers,†Kim noted. Of course there’s no guarantee that Lizard Squad will keep their promise during the days to come, but Dotcom said he will render the vouchers useless if attacks resume. Merry Christmas everyone… http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-stops-xbox-and-playstation-attacks-141226/
  9. In a new court filing Megaupload's legal team refutes the U.S. Government's claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives. The filing further reveals efforts to uncover the MPAA's involvement in the criminal investigation into Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. kimfugitiveIt’s been nearly three years since Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. authorities but it’s still uncertain whether Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants will be extradited overseas. As there’s little progress in the criminal case, the U.S. launched a separate civil case asking the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. The U.S. claims that these assets were obtained through criminal activities. In a recent motion to strike the DoJ added that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants have no right to oppose the forfeiture request as they are fugitives. “Claimants Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, and Sven Echternach, are deliberately avoiding prosecution by declining to enter the United States where the criminal case is pending,†U.S. Attorney Dana Boente noted. Yesterday evening Megaupload’s legal team filed a response to the Government’s motion, noting that the U.S. heavily distorts the “fugitive†status concept. The lawyers inform the court that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants aren’t trying to avoid prosecution. Instead, they’re remaining in place until the New Zealand court decides over their extradition request. “These Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution. To the contrary, they remain precisely where they have long been residing and carrying out the very business enterprise that the Government characterizes as criminal—in New Zealand.†“Nor have these Claimants altered their plans so as to avoid return to the United States. To the contrary, they are simply maintaining the pre-indictment status quo and following the rule of law by invoking their rights under the laws and procedures of their home countries, where they had long-planned to remain.†In a declaration to the court Dotcom emphasizes that he’s currently under supervision of the New Zealand court. He never fled from the United States, in fact, he has never been there in his entire life. “I have never been a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. I have never visited the United States,†Dotcom writes. Megaupload’s lawyers ask the court to deny the U.S. “fugitives'†claim or keep it pending until there’s a decision on the motion to dismiss they filed earlier. In this motion they argued that the entire case should be dismissed since the U.S. doesn’t have a statute for criminal secondary copyright infringement. If the court decides to move forward, Megaupload’s legal team want the “fugitives†claim to be converted to a request for summary judgment. This would allow them to conduct discovery and find out what role the MPAA played in the criminal investigation. Shortly before the investigation began the MPAA hired former Assistant Attorney General, Cybele Daley, for lobbying purposes. Daley had a budget of over $1 million a year to lobby attorneys at the Department of Justice, and Megaupload’s lawyers want to find out where the U.S. was overreaching. It’s now up to the Virginia federal court to decide how to proceed. Needless to say, the outcome will have a major impact on Dotcom’s means to fight back. torrentfreak
  10. It was a place where Kim Dotcom loved doing business but it took just 13 minutes for a Hong Kong court to authorize the seizure of $42 million of his assets in 2012. Now the tycoon wants his cash back, with his legal team arguing that justice officials misled the courts. For many months the New Zealand courts have been dealing with the thorny issue of Kim Dotcom. The entrepreneur’s case has traversed the legal system, with claim and counterclaim, decision followed by appeal. The key topic of Dotcom’s possible extradition to the United States aside, much of the courtroom action has centered around the Megaupload founder’s assets. On the one hand Dotcom has been trying to reclaim his property, and on the other United States-based entertainment companies have been trying to lock it down in preparation for any future damages payout. But as the fight simmers in New Zealand and largely stalls in the U.S., Dotcom’s legal representatives are fighting to reestablish control of his wealth in a third territory. Over in Hong Kong, lawyers for Dotcom are attempting to take back HK$330 million (US$42.55m) in assets that were seized by local authorities when Megaupload was shut down in January 2012. While Dotcom’s servers were being sealed off in the United States and his mansion raided in New Zealand, the Megaupload chief’s Hong Kong offices were being raided by 100 customs officers following allegations of copyright infringement and money laundering. The seized assets are being held under a restraining order but Dotcom’s legal team are arguing that it should be set aside. In April 2014, Megaupload initiated legal action against the government and now its legal team is accusing the secretary for justice of failing to provide a “full and frank disclosure†of the facts when the application for seizure was made. “We are applying for [the order] to be set aside because the court has misrepresented the true position,†Dotcom lawyer Gerard McCoy SC told SCMP yesterday. In a feature that has become a hallmark of the pre-shutdown activity surrounding Megaupload, the Hong Kong restraining order was made ex parte, meaning that the defendants in the case were not allowed to put their side of the story. Dotcom’s lawyers say that in such circumstances the prosecution is under obligation to exercise additional caution “Did the secretary for justice put his cards on the table face up? This application is a clear example of the duty either being ignored or simply misunderstood,†McCoy said. According to the lawyer the prosecution deliberately withheld crucial information from the court when applying for the restraining order, not least the fact that Megaupload could not be served with a criminal complaint in the United States as it did not have a US mailing address. “None of this was ever brought to the attention of the judge. It was all put to one side and never raised,†McCoy said. In an interview with TorrentFreak in December 2011 before the raid, Dotcom spoke warmly of Hong Kong. “I should write a book about doing business in Hong Kong, that’s how good it is,†he said. “People there leave you alone and they are happy for your success.†But according to McCoy, one month later the fate of Dotcom, his co-defendants, and his Megaupload empire was sealed in a matter of minutes. “In about six or seven minutes, the applicant has dealt with the position of nine defendants and managed to freeze a massive amount of money. There is not one word about Megaupload, not a jot, not a tittle,†he told the court. If the case goes in Dotcom’s favor there could be big implications for the entrepreneur. Not only could he regain tens of millions of dollars in wealth, but he could also be in a position to file a multi-billion dollar civil claim for damages. Before its shutdown, Megaupload was valued at a cool two billion dollars. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  11. Since his hectic election campaign came to a close last month, Kim Dotcom hasn't given a single interview. On TorrentFreak today he breaks his silence, opening up on his fight with two governments, his departure from Baboom, and what he views as almost "religious extremism" employed by the labels and Hollywood to destroy him. When it comes to the online space, Kim Dotcom is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing personalities around. From Megaupload to Mega to his fledgling music service Baboom, everything touched by the man has been bathed in publicity and heated opinion. It is this ability to attract attention that undoubtedly played a key role in his creation of the Internet Party, a political movement with a stated aim to shake up New Zealand politics and put Dotcom-affiliated politicians in Parliament. Last month, however, the elections failed to go as planned. The Internet Partyconceded defeat without winning a single seat, with its founder honoring tradition by politely congratulating Prime Minister and arch-rival John Key on his success. After endless appearances and endless daily tweets, Dotcom essentially disappeared from public life, only breaking his silence to comment on the video game Destiny and his exit from Baboom. Today we catch up with the controversial entrepreneur to find out what happened. “Baboom is this great idea of unchaining the artists from major record labels, allowing them to deal directly with their fanbase and using groundbreaking new ways of monetization that pay artists even when fans access content for free,†Dotcom told TF. “But Baboom is facing tough opposition from the labels. Baboom has had to deal with unfair and deliberate efforts to make us fail. I won’t go into details.†Dotcom says that for the sake of the artists he wants Baboom to succeed. But, in order for that to happen, a sacrifice needed to be made. “The best way to achieve that success was to take me out of Baboom completely. We have a great management team and some brave investors in place. The brand ‘Kim Dotcom’ is toxic and a major distractor to what Baboom is trying to achieve,†he concedes. While sometimes problematic, Dotcom’s branding is clearly a double-edged sword, one only needs to look at the 2012 launch of Mega.co.nz to see that. On the tiniest of budgets, Dotcom managed to rally the world’s press to witness the launch of his new cloud-storage site. And without him it’s doubtful that Baboom would’ve achieved the profile it has today. But while those same strengths allowed the Internet Party to became a news event every day leading up to the election, Dotcom’s profile and history – by his own admission – became a millstone around the party’s neck. Every aspect of his private life became a point of leverage for his political opposition. “The Internet Party failed to deliver meaningful change in New Zealand at the last election because of the media spin by our opponents,†Dotcom says. “They have successfully turned me into a villain, a German Nazi, a horrible employer, a political hacker, a practitioner of prohibited digital voodoo magic and nothing short of a monster. I would hate that guy too if I didn’t know that it wasn’t true.†Dotcom says that part of the problem is that he has powerful enemies who in turn have friends in positions of influence, including in the press. “When you have the US Government, the NZ Government, all Hollywood studios and all major record labels fighting against you, you don’t have a lot of friends, especially in the media,†Dotcom says. “They either own the media (like in the US) or control the media with their significant advertising spending. Their passion to destroy me and everything I do, because of a copyright disagreement, is almost as fanatical as some of the religious extremism I see on TV.†So with the election over, and maybe even Dotcom’s entire political career with it, the entrepreneur still has huge adversity to overcome. As he cuts Baboom free and wishes the company every success, Dotcom thoughts and energies turn to his pending extradition case. He knows it’s not going to be easy, especially given the mauling he received at the hands of New Zealand’s political heavyweights in the run up to the election. “If I was a judge in New Zealand I wouldn’t think too highly of ‘Kim Dotcom’ after months of prime time media bashing by the Prime Minister personally and his media helpers,†Dotcom says. “John Key constantly made the Internet Party and its goals for Internet Freedom about my extradition case and he accused me of attempting to subvert the New Zealand judiciary. He basically told the judiciary every day that I’m a selfish, criminal man who ‘has to go away’.†While Dotcom insists his motives were altruistic, there can be little doubt that if the election had gone his way the words of John Key and friends might have meant just that little bit less. As it stands, things went pretty badly. The details of that extradition fight will become clear during the months to come, but in closing Dotcom shared with us an interesting development. “After 1000 days of waiting we finally got access to our own data (copies of our personal computers / hard drives). Remember, the Government made us wait this long for a single reason only: They demanded access to our encryption codes,†he says. “But here’s the twist: It turns out that the Government had access to the encryption codes all along. Who would have thought that they didn’t install a trojan on my computer while they had the GCSB / NSA spying on me.†Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing is currently scheduled to take place in February 2015. Expect the media circus to get going again soon. http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-breaks-post-election-media-silence-141004/
  12. In a surprise move Kim Dotcom has sold all of his shares in music startup Baboom. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Baboom chief executive Grant Edmundson said that the company will now be able to be judged on its own merits, rather than on the "brand equity (or otherwise) of its shareholder base." On January 20, 2014, Kim Dotcom celebrated the two-year anniversary of the raid on his New Zealand mansion by releasing his brand new album ‘Good Times’. In addition to being the first Dotcom collection distributed commercially, the album was also notable for soft-launching Baboom. The fledging music service was to provide the platform for the entrepreneur’s assault on the major label-controlled recording business. From the beginning Baboom’s stated aim was to disrupt the music industry by closing the gap between artists and fans, rewarding the former with most of the profits. The latter would be put in a win-win situation via free ad-supported music streaming. The one constant that remained throughout was Kim Dotcom himself, a person with whom the service was inextricably linked, both financially and from branding and marketing perspectives. Today, however, that has all come to an end. According to a new Particulars of Shareholding document filed this morning, Coatesville Trustee Services Limited – Dotcom’s family trust – has sold all of its shares in Baboom. Before the sale Michael Sorensen’s Vig Limited, which also holds 13044 shares (9.97%) in Mega.co.nz, held 45% of Baboom’s shares. Company documents reveal that Vig now owns 90% after Dotcom’s family trust shares were transferred to the company. As can be seen above, the remaining 10% is held by Xavier Buck of Dicé Invest. In November 2013, Buck, who is also a director at Domaintools, said he would be heading up MEGA Europe. Perhaps the most curious element of Dotcom’s exit from the business is the language being used by Baboom chief executive Grant Edmundson. While he wishes the Baboom founder well, a single sentence distances Dotcom from the company in every possible way. “The transaction means Dotcom no longer has any equity or role in Baboom, nor any relationship with the company,†Edmundson said. “Kim is moving on to focus on other projects and both camps wish each other well with future plans.†TorrentFreak spoke with Edmundson and asked if Dotcom’s exit from the company had been his choice alone, Baboom’s, or by mutual agreement. He told us that he would not comment on matters between shareholders. However, when questioned on whether Baboom’s brand would be affected by the departure of its founder, Edmundson was more forthcoming. “In terms of the impact on Baboom, my view is that the Baboom service will now be able to be judged on its own merits rather than being assessed on the brand equity (or otherwise) of its shareholder base,†the Baboom CEO said. Kim Dotcom did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Baboom is currently trying to raise US$3.98m (NZ$5.05m) and a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company sought to raise the funds from investors in return for 11.5% of its shares with the offer closing in July, but that deadline was amended to make it open-ended. Baboom is scheduled to debut in the fourth quarter of 2014, although no firm launch date has been provided by the company. Update: Kim Dotcom has taken to Twitter: http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-baboom-sever-all-ties-141002/
  13. Kim Dotcom has lost his appeal to keep his worldwide assets hidden from Hollywood in advance of a Court of Appeal hearing in October. The Court ordered the Megaupload founder to hand the information to Hollywood lawyers, although they must obtain permission to further share the information. 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros are engaged in a huge battle with Kim Dotcom. They believe that legal action currently underway against the Megaupload founder could lead to them receiving a sizable damages award should they win their case. But Dotcom’s lavish lifestyle gives them concerns. The more he spends, the less they could receive should the money begin to run out. Those concerns were addressed by the High Court’s Judge Courtney, who previously ordered Dotcom to disclose the details of his worldwide assets to his Hollywood adversaries. Dotcom filed an appeal which will be heard in October, but that date is beyond the ordered disclosure date. As a result, Dotcom took his case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of staying the disclosure order. That bid has now failed. Dotcom’s legal team argued out that their client’s October appeal would be rendered pointless if he was required to hand over financial information in advance. They also insisted a stay would not negatively affect the studios since millions in assets are currently restrained in New Zealand and elsewhere. However, as explained by the Court of Appeal, any decision to stay a judgment is a balancing act between the rights of the successful party (Hollywood) to enforce its judgment and the consequences for both parties should the stay be granted or denied. While the Court agreed that Dotcom’s appeal would be rendered pointless if disclosure to Hollywood was ordered, it rejected that would have an effect on Dotcom. “[T]he mere fact that appeal rights are rendered nugatory is not necessarily determinative and in the circumstances of this case I consider that this consequence carries little weight. This is because Mr Dotcom himself does not assert that there will be any adverse effect on him if deprived of an effective appeal,†the decision reads. The Court also rejected the argument put forward by Dotcom’s lawyer that the disclosure of financial matters would be a threat to privacy and amounted to an “unreasonable searchâ€. The Court did, however, acknowledge that Dotcom’s appeal would deal with genuine issues. That said, the concern over him disposing of assets outweighed them in this instance. In respect of the effect of a stay on the studios, the Court looked at potential damages in the studios’ legal action against the Megaupload founder. Dotcom’s expert predicted damages “well below†US$10m, while the studios’ expert predicted in excess of US$100m. The Court noted that Dotcom has now revealed that his personal assets restrained in both New Zealand and Hong Kong are together worth “not less†than NZ$ 33.93 million (US$ 28.39m). However, all of Dotcom’s assets are subject to a potential claim from his estranged wife, Mona, so the Court judged Dotcom’s share to be around NZ$17m. As a result the Court accepted that there was an arguable case that eventual damages would be more than the value of assets currently restrained in New Zealand. As a result, Dotcom is ordered to hand the details of his financial assets, “wherever they are locatedâ€, to the lawyers acting for the studios. There are restrictions on access to that information, however. “The respondents’ solicitors are not to disclose the contents of the affidavit to any person without the leave of the Court,†the decision reads. As legal proceedings in New Zealand continue, eyes now turn to Hong Kong. In addition to Dotcom’s personal wealth subjected to restraining order as detailed above, an additional NZ$25m owned by Megaupload and Vestor Limited is frozen in Hong Kong. Next week Dotcom’s legal team will attempt to have the restraining order lifted. http://torrentfreak.com/dotcom-loses-bid-to-keep-assets-secret-from-hollywood-140829/
  14. Back in 2012, millions of dollars of Megaupload and Kim Dotcom assets were seized in New Zealand and Hong Kong, action designed to bring the Internet entrepreneur financially to his knees. That hasn’t been the case since, however. Dotcom has continued with his very public displays of wealth, living in one of New Zealand’s most expensive houses, flying around the country in helicopters, and bankrolling a brand new political party. All this, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros insist, are clear signs that Dotcom is disposing of wealth that will transfer to their hands should they prevail in their legal action against him – if there is any left of course. Last month the High Court’s Judge Courtney agreed with the studios and ordered Dotcom to reveal all of his global assets “wherever they are located†and to identify “the nature of his interest in them.†Needless to say, Dotcom has been putting up a fight, and has filed an appeal which will be heard in the second week of October. However, that date falls way beyond September 5, the date by which Dotcom has to comply with Judge Courtney’s disclosure order. During a hearing today at the Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s legal team argued that their client should not have to hand over a list of his assets in advance of the October appeal as several legal points needed to be aired during the hearing. According to Stuff, lawyer Tracey Walker said that the 2012 restraining order covered assets generated before that date, but have no scope moving forward. “The assets that they are talking about now are new assets that were created because of my entrepreneurial skill after the raid,†Dotcom explained previously. Dotcom has remained extremely active in the business sector since 2012, helping to create cloud storage service Mega.co.nz and then generating cash by selling shares in the company. The authorities and Hollywood are clearly trying to keep an eye on the money. In Court, Walker said that since $11.8 million was seized from Dotcom in 2012 and other funds are currently frozen in Hong Kong, the studios have a fund to draw on should they win their case. Revealing more about his current financial situation would breach Dotcom’s privacy, Walker added. Appearing for the US-based studios, lawyer Jack Hodder said the disclosure order was fully justified. Ending the hearing, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on whether Dotcom will have to comply with the High Court ruling and disclose on September 9, or whether he will indeed be able to wait until after the October hearing. In the meantime the political mudslinging continues in New Zealand, with Kim Dotcom now preparing legal action against controversial blogger Cameron Slater who he accuses of publishing “200 plus smear stories†as part of a “character assassination†campaign handled by the ruling National Party. http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-battles-keep-cash-sources-private-140827/
  15. Kim Dotcom has been told that his extradition hearing will be delayed once again. The Megaupload founder will now have to wait until at least February 2015 to discover his fate, not during the next few weeks as planned. The United States Government is keen to get its hands on Kim Dotcom. He stands accused of committing the biggest copyright-related crime ever seen through his now-defunct cloud storage site Megaupload. But their access to the entrepreneur will have to wait. According to Dotcom, his extradition hearing has now been delayed until February 16, 2015. Delays and postponements have become recurring features of the criminal case being built against Dotcom in the United States. A March 2013 date came and went without a promised hearing, as did another in November the same year, a delay which Dotcom said would “save Prime Minister John Key embarrassment during an election campaign.†Another hearing date for April 2014 also failed to materialize and now the date penciled in for the coming weeks has also been struck down. Dotcom also reports that he still hasn’t received a copy of the data that was unlawfully sent to the FBI by New Zealand authorities. http://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-extradition-hearing-delayed-until-2015-140707/
  16. In 2012, New Zealand police seized computer drives belonging to Kim Dotcom, copies of which were unlawfully given to the FBI. Dotcom wants access to the seized content but the drives are encrypted. A judge has now ruled that even if the Megaupload founder supplies the passwords, they cannot subsequently be forwarded to the FBI. During the raid more than two years ago on his now-famous mansion, police in New Zealand seized 135 computers and drives belonging to Kim Dotcom. In May 2012 during a hearing at Auckland’s High Court, lawyer Paul Davison QC demanded access to the data stored on the confiscated equipment, arguing that without it Dotcom could not mount a proper defense. The FBI objected to the request due to some of the data being encrypted. However, Dotcom refused to hand over the decryption passwords unless the court guaranteed him access to the data. At this point it was revealed that despite assurances from the court to the contrary, New Zealand police had already sent copies of the data to U.S. authorities. In May 2014, Davison was back in court arguing that New Zealand police should release copies of the data from the seized computers and drives, reiterating the claim that without the information Dotcom could not get a fair trial. The High Court previously ruled that the Megaupload founder could have copies, on the condition he handed over the encryption keys. But while Dotcom subsequently agreed to hand over the passwords, that was on the condition that New Zealand police would not hand them over to U.S. authorities. Dotcom also said he couldn’t remember the passwords after all but may be able to do so if he gained access to prompt files contained on the drives. The police agreed to give Dotcom access to the prompts but with the quid pro quo that the revealed passwords could be passed onto the United States, contrary to Dotcom’s wishes. Today Justice Winkelmann ruled that if the police do indeed obtain the codes, they must not hand them over to the FBI. Reason being, the copies of the computers and drives should never have been sent to the United States in the first place. While the ruling is a plus for Dotcom, the entrepreneur today expressed suspicion over whether the FBI even need the encryption codes. “NZ Police is not allowed to provide my encryption password to the FBI,†he wroteon Twitter, adding, “As if they don’t have it already.†http://torrentfreak.com/dotcom-encryption-keys-cant-be-given-to-fbi-court-rules-140702/
  17. The argument over whether or not the raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion back in January 2012 was legal is heading to the highest court in New Zealand. Yesterday the Supreme Court gave Dotcom permission to appeal a February Court of Appeal ruling that overturned an earlier High Court decision that the raid was unlawful. Following the huge raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in January 2012, questions started to be asked about the legality of the warrants used to launch the operation. In mid 2012 a High Court judge found that the warrants were not only overbroad but also illegal, providing a big boost to Dotcom’s extradition battle prospects with the United States. However, this February the Megaupload founder suffered a setback when the Court of Appeal overturned the earlier High Court ruling. While it was agreed the warrants contained flaws, the judges found that overall the warrants were legal. But it’s not over yet. The Supreme Court has now granted Dotcom leave to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling from February. “The Supreme Court granted us permission to argue the validity of search warrants used in this raid,†Dotcom announced on Twitter. The hearing is set for June 11 to June 12.
  18. Kim Dotcom Goes Head to Head With The MPAA’s Top Lawyer Following the announcement that the MPAA had filed a lawsuit against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, the movie studios' General Counsel Steven Fabrizio made several appearances in the media. Most memorable was an interview with Radio New Zealand, where he was surprised to hear Kim Dotcom on the other end of the line. Earlier this week the MPAA filed a lawsuit against Megaupload, Kim Dotcom and two former employees of the defunct file-storage service. In their complaint the movie studios repeat many of the claims that were laid out in the criminal case while demanding millions of dollars in damages. But according to Dotcom the lawsuit is just a desperate attempt at an asset-grab by the MPAA because the criminal case against Megaupload is going to fail. “The criminal case is failing. There will be no extradition. They are now trying to get at our seized assets with civil forfeitures. It’s a move of desperation,†Dotcom tells TF. MPAA General Counsel Steven Fabrizio disagrees, and has told his side of the story to many news outlets this week. Dotcom and Fabrizio are usually not heard at the same time, but in a rare interview with Radio New Zealand the two bumped heads. Fabrizio was seemingly under the impression that he was doing a solo interview, but that changed when the reporter informed him that Dotcom was listening in on a second line. When she asked the MPAA lawyer whether he wanted to discuss the case with Dotcom there was a brief silence, but he eventually agreed. Listen Friends http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20140410-0948-hollywood_studios_launch_law_suit_against_kim_dotcom-048.mp3 First MPAA’s General Counsel had the opportunity to explain what Megaupload did wrong and why. In line with their complaint, Fabrizio described the file-storage site as a business that was set up to facilitate and encourage copyright infringement. “Megaupload was never a cloud storage service to begin with,†Fabrizio noted. “From its birth to its death, it was a service that was designed to profit from copyright infringement, and in fact, it did profit handsomely from copyright infringement.†“The proof of the pudding that it was not a storage service, is that almost 98 percent of the people who used Megaupload were not premium users. If you weren’t a premium user, and your content wasn’t downloaded frequently enough, then Megaupload would delete it,†he added. Dotcom, who in private refers to the MPAA’s counsel as “Fabricatio,†because he is “script writing and ‘fabricating’ Hollywood’s science fiction lawsuitsâ€, later refuted the claim that Megaupload deleted files uploaded by free users. “That is a blatant lie,†Dotcom said. “We have not purged any files from Megaupload for many years. If you were a non-premium user and you had an account with us that was free, your files would not be deleted.†Fabrizio’s second argument was that Megaupload offered a rewards program which encouraged people to share large video files. Again, Dotcom contested this claim by pointing out that people only got paid for files smaller than 100 megabytes. Megaupload’s founder conceded that users could circumvent the limits by uploading split archives, but he stressed that the restriction was specifically put in place to discourage copyright infringement. The third allegation Fabrizio made was that Megaupload employees had private conversations where they allegedly discussed the “pirate†status of their work. “Internally they referred to themselves as modern pirates. Some of the employees and some of the co-defendants actually uploaded infringing popular movies themselves, so that they could be downloaded by others,†the MPAA’s top lawyer noted. Again, Dotcom disagreed and explained that the “pirates†the employee referred to were Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. “Yeah, well that’s complete nonsense, right. One of our employees who was admin staff and a developer has chatted with our CTO and he watched a documentary called Pirates of Silicon Valley. That was a movie about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and how they stole the ideas from each other,†Dotcom said. “He then made this remark to [the CTO] saying we are modern-day pirates, comparing himself to the attitude those guys had, simply because they were copying from each other and we were copying from our competitors and vice versa,†he added. Responding to the reporter’s question on why he wouldn’t go to the U.S. voluntarily to stand trial, Dotcom said that he offered to do so, but only on the condition that he would get access to his funds as well as bail, which the Department of Justice refused. The reporter then switched back to Fabrizio, who didn’t seem to believe much of what Dotcom was saying. “Mr. Dotcom can talk all he wants about his excuses, but the reality is that you can say anything you want if you’re not constrained by the truth of the facts that you’re saying,†Fabrizio said. Of course, the same also applies to the MPAA and Mr. Fabrizio… The interview is an intriguing face-off, and the first time ever that the MPAA and Dotcom have gone head-to-head. It probably wont be the last time either, although the venue will very much depend on how the criminal proceedings and the civil case progress.