ALMOST four years after a dramatic raid on his New Zealand mansion, D-Day has arrived for the internet’s most infamous tycoon, Kim Dotcom.

US authorities want to extradite the German-born mogul to Virginia, where he could face up to 20 years in jail for piracy, laundering and racketeering in relation to his hugely successful file-sharing site Megaupload, which was shut down by federal authorities.

After a huge number of delays, the extradition hearing started in an Auckland courtroom today and will determine whether Dotcom and three colleagues have a case to answer for in the US. The four men maintain their innocence in what is described as the largest copyright case in history. And it seems

Dotcom managed to secure an early victory, being allowed to bring his own chair to the hearing, saying he needed it because he had back problems.
Plenty has happened to the flamboyant 41-year-old playboy since his dramatic arrest in 2012. He’s launched a political career, made forays into the music industry and endured a high-profile separation from his wife, all the while crusading for his innocence and internet freedom.

Opinions are split over whether Dotcom is an internet criminal or a fearless freedom fighter. But what is undeniable is that even in the midst of a protracted legal battle, he has been far from boring.


Kim Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz and also known as Kim Tim Jim Vestor or Kimble, rose to fame in Germany’s hacking community in the 1990s but really made his name — and his many millions — when he founded Megaupload in 2005.

It was a file-sharing website that saw 50 million users a day — or a whopping four per cent of the total internet traffic — share files, music and movies online.

Dotcom has maintained Megaupload was a simple cloud storage facility but as far as the US government is concerned, Dotcom was the chief architect of a hotbed of illegal activity and piracy that netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost entertainment industry $550 million in lost revenue.

And so at the behest of the FBI, New Zealand police swooped on Dotcom’s palatial property outside Auckland in 2012 during a lavish birthday celebration, reportedly finding the mogul cowering in his panic room with a sawed-off shotgun nearby.
Authorities seized $9 million in cash, 18 luxury cars — including Dotcom’s pink 1959 Cadillac — and personal hard drives during the raid. They also seized

Dotcom’s assets, putting a hold on his lavish lifestyle. Dotcom was remanded for a month but later released on bail.

The high-profile police operation, which included no less than 70 officers and a helicopter, attracted a huge amount of media attention and was later deemed illegal by a New Zealand high court, leading to a public apology by Prime Minister John Key.

He’s also an avid gamer, and once was the world’s number one-ranked multiplayer player in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.


Since his spectacular arrest Dotcom has been embroiled in a lot of legal proceedings to delay his extradition.
But he’s had a swath of interesting side projects to keep him busy and his fortunes afloat.

Earlier this year Dotcom announced plans to bring his New Zealand-based political party, the aptly named internet Party, to the US.
The party champions open-source governance, internet freedom, privacy and copyright as its ideologies and became registered in New Zealand in March last year, bankrolled by Dotcom. His $NZ2.9 million investment in the party actually became the largest personal contribution to any political party in the country’s history.

The party entered New Zealand’s 2014 general election under a coalition with the Mana Movement party but bombed out, with both parties failing to win any seats.

But in December, Dotcom announced the party would arrive in the US in 2015, promising that it would be “well-funded and run by American citizens”, as well as “Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare”. (It has not launched yet.)