Paths for freedom and progress
Kim Dotcom
SOCIETY AND POWER - 09/06/2018

A story about an Internet tycoon and about US governments involvment in foreign affairs, in part claimed by interests of Hollywood.

Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz in Kiel, West Germany, 1974. His mother was Finnish and his father German. Also known as Kimble and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, he changed his surname to Dotcom in 2005, as "a homage to the technology that made him a millionaire".


He has been called one of the world's "largest tech entrepreneurs". At the time he was living in Hong Kong he set up Megaupload, an online company that operated from 2005 to 2012 providing online services related to file storage and viewing. On 19 January 2013, Megaupload was re-launched as Mega under the domain name mega.co.nz.


As a teenager, Kim acquired a reputation in his native Germany after claiming to have bypassed the security of NASA, the Pentagon and Citibank under the name of Kimble. He also claimed to have hacked corporate PBX systems in the United States and said "every PBX is an open door to me".


In 2001, 27 years old, Schmitz bought €375,000 worth of shares of the nearly bankrupt company Letsbuyit.com and subsequently announced his intention to invest €50 million in the company. The announcement caused the share value of Letsbuyit.com to jump and Schmitz cashed out, making a profit of €1.5 million. One commentator suggested that Schmitz may have been ignorant of the legal ramifications of what he had done, since insider trading was not made a crime in Germany until 1995.


Dotcom moved instantly to Thailand but was soon deported back to Germany where he pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November 2003 and, after five months in jail awaiting trial, received a suspended sentence of 20 months. He left Germany and moved to Hong Kong in late 2003.


Dotcom found Hong Kong to his liking and set up a network of interlinked companies, made more money,  visited New Zealand two times 2008 and 2009,  applied for residency and received it in end of 2010, granted residency under the "investor plus" category, which allows people to gain residency if they invest $10 million in New Zealand. He polished well his image giving $50,000 to Christchurch earthquake vctims, another $50,000 to a former rugby player in wheelchair and a extravagant spending of $600,000 fireworks display in New Year Event 2011 in Auckland harbor.


The company Megaupload.com, offered a popular Internet-based storage platform for customers, who ranged from large businesses to individuals. This storage platform allowed its users to store files in the Internet "cloud" and to use, if needed, online storage space and bandwidth." The company was successful. Millions of people all around the globe used Megaupload to store and access copies of TV shows, feature films, songs, porn, and software. Eventually it had over 150 employees, US$175 million revenues, and 50 million daily visitors. At its peak Megaupload was estimated to be the 13th most popular site on the Internet and responsible for 4% of all Internet traffic.


2012, indictments were filed in Virginia in the United States against Dotcom and other company executives with crimes including racketeering, conspiring to commit copyright infringement (reactions from Hollywood), and conspiring to commit money laundering. Two weeks later Kim Dotcom and partners Kolk were arrested by New Zealand Police, in an armed raid on Dotcom's house involving 76 officers and two helicopters. Assets worth $17 million were seized. Dotcom's bank accounts were frozen denying him access to US$175 millions in 64 bank accounts world-wide, in government bonds and in money from numerous PayPal accounts. Dotcom was remanded to Mt Eden Prison. He subsequently reported: "The first night I didn't have a blanket, soap, toothpaste or toilet paper. They didn't provide us with the basic things... He said he was treated like a convicted criminal and was "stunned to be locked up in prison over claims of criminal copyright infringements when accused murderers were bailed to await trial". One and half month later, a judge released Dotcom on bail.


In November 2017, Dotcom and his former wife Mona accepted a confidential settlement from the police over the raid. The settlement came after a damages claim was filed with the High Court over the "unreasonable" use of force when the anti-terrorism Special Tactics Group raided his mansion in January 2012. The New Zealand Herald reported that his partners settlements were six-figure sums and "likely Dotcom would profit more as the main target in the raid". Commenting on the settlement, Dotcom said: "We were shocked at the uncharacteristic handling of my arrest for a non-violent Internet copyright infringement charge brought by the United States, which is not even a crime in New Zealand".


The mistakes by authorities have attracted widespread media coverage and announcement of the illegal spying on Dotcom has "heightened suspicions that New Zealand´s relationship with the United States has become one of servility rather than friendship.  The Government's unquestioning readiness to co-operate with American authorities seriously corrodes the status of an independent Nation.



Kim Dotcom by himself: http://www.kim.com/

Copyright 2018 - Thomas Nilsson - All rights reserved - [email protected]
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