One of the more colorful Internet entrepreneurs faces extradition to the United States. Kim Dotcom could serve up to twenty years if convicted on multiple charges including copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud. A week ago, a judge in New Zealand found the evidence against him and three co-defendants overwhelming. The background, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.
Born Kim Schmitz in Germany, the self-described Internet freedom fighter changed his name to Kim Dotcom ten years ago. His criminal record dates to his teens, when he got two years for computer fraud and data espionage (what we call hacking) but a suspended sentence because of his age. After another conviction he moved first to Thailand, then to Hong Kong, where he founded a file sharing service called Megaupload. At one time, it generated 4% of global internet traffic and enormous profits as users swapped music and movies. Illegally, according to the Department of Justice, which described the service as a gigantic scheme to defraud music and movie producers.
In 2010, Mr. Dotcom bought permanent residency in New Zealand under the investor plus immigration category. Four years ago, police raided his mansion and arrested him in response to the US charges. It turns out the government made mistakes. Prime Minister John Key apologized for spying on him illegally. But so did Dotcom who failed to deliver on a promise to produce absolute evidence that Prime Minister Key had lied. Dotcom founded the Internet party, which failed to win a single seat despite the largest political donation in New Zealand history...from Dotcom himself.
He vows to fight extradition every step of the way… the case could drag on for years.