In what has already been dubbed one of the “largest criminal copyright cases ever”, it’s been hard to avoid the buzz surrounding the Department of Justice’s all-out attack on the file-sharing site, Megaupload.
Facing charges of piracy, the FBI has arrested and charged what appears to be the entire Megaupload employee roster, including cofounder Kim Dotcom (aka Kim Schmitz).
In the midst of the arrests, the FBI seized a whole lot of Megaupload’s assets, including 10 Mercedes Benz cars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and an impressive collection of 65 to 108-inch TVs.
The focus in the midst of this melee has, unsurprisingly, been almost entirely fixated on the man in the limelight, Kim Dotcom, something which is certainly not new to the German-born New Zealand resident.
According to the Guardian, when he first moved into his multimillion dollar mansion, near Auckland, his neighbours were somewhat perturbed by his presence, a feeling sparked mainly by his choice of license-plates. We got a glimpse of these personalized plates, including MAFIA, GUILTY, HACKER and STONED, in the FBI raid, in which 10 Mercedes Benz cars and a Harley Davidson motorcycle were seized.
Realizing that their neighbour had been convicted of what was then the largest insider-trading case in Germany’s history, a conviction that came with an almost 2 year probation sentence, and a €100,000 fine, they wrote to the owner of the mansion, who simply passed the message on to Dotcom himself.
His reply, filled with jokes about cocaine, tax fraud and money laundering, which was shared by the Guardian read:
As you all know I recently moved into the Neighborhood and I am a former hacker. Well I was just hacking into a local mail server and guess what I found.
First of all let me assure you that having a criminal Neighbor like me comes with benefits.
1. Our newly opened local money laundering facility can help you with your tax fraud optimization.
2. Our network of international insiders can provide you with valuable stock tips.
3. My close personal relations with other (far worse) criminals can help you whenever you have to deal with a nasty Neighbor.”
In all seriousness: My wife, two kids and myself love New Zealand and ‘We come in peace’.
Fifteen years ago I was a hacker and 10 years ago I was convicted for insider trading. Hardly the kind of crimes you need to start a witch hunt for. Since then I have been a good boy, my criminal records have been cleared, and I created a successful Internet company that employs 100+ people.
All the media has to report are old news. Why? Because I have chosen to avoid the media. Just look what the media did to this Neighborhood. Scary.
Now you can make a choice: 1: Call Interpol, the CIA, and the Queen of England and try to get me on the next plane out of New Zealand. 2: Sit back, relax and give me a chance to do good for New Zealand and possibly the Neighborhood.
If you feel like it come over for coffee sometimes. And don’t forget to bring the cocaine (joke). All the best, Kim.”
Dotcom’s sense of humour certainly didn’t find an audience among his neighbours, and if anything, seemed to have heightened their concerns.
Dotcom is currently being held in custody in New Zealand, and according to the Wall Street Journal, his bail hearing has been postponed.