Megaupload megamaniac: the mad, mad world of Kim Dotcom

Jan 25, 2012
Charles Laurence

Auckland judge orders Kim Dotcom to remain in custody as his colourful reputation soars

MEGAUPLOAD co-founder Kim Dotcom remains in a New Zealand jail after being denied bail today following charges of racketeering and copyright infringement by the United States Department of Justice, but his reputation as the most colourful alleged villain of the internet age is soaring.

Dotcom – otherwise known as Kim Schmitz, a German and Finnish national who stands 6ft 6in tall and weighs somewhere between 200lb and 300lb – winked to the gallery as the judge ordered him held in custody until an extradition hearing on 22 February.

But if he is bothered by the prospect of facing charges in an American court which could put him behind bars for more than 20 years, 38-year-old Dotcom is refusing to show it.

Judge David McNaughton deemed him worthy of a movie role as a Bond villain by saying: "I am sure he has the financial resources to obtain forged identity or travel documents and to arrange transport out of the country by covert means should he wish to do so."

A video playing online shows Dotcom in a dark suit surrounded by topless women and men spraying champagne on board a yacht called Amnesia during a "crazy weekend" in Monaco reported to have cost $10 million.

"Fast cars, hot girls, superyachts and amazing parties – decadence rules," intones the commentary of the video, which Dotcom dedicates to "all my fans".

Another shows him driving a large Mercedes in the annual Gum Ball Rally, boasting of how he has been bribing the police to escape speeding tickets.

The list of assets seized when he was arrested at the mansion he has been leased in the rural community of Coatesville, north of Auckland, included works of art, $10 million invested in local finance companies, and nearly 20 luxury cars, one of them a pink 1960s Cadillac.

They sported vanity plates such as 'HACKER', 'MAFIA', 'GUILTY' and 'GOD', and his habit of driving them at speed brought complaints from the neighbours, The Guardian reports.

The locals researched his background, which includes a conviction for insider-trading and fraud in Germany, but when they wrote to complain to the owners of the mansion – the most expensive house in New Zealand – and the owners forwarded the letter to him, Dotcom replied with an e-mail in which he joked of having criminal links, laundering money and taking cocaine:

"First of all let me assure you that having a criminal Neighbor like me comes with benefits," he wrote.

"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."

Dotcom continued: "In all seriousness: My wife, two kids and myself love New Zealand and 'We come in peace'." And he ended: "If you feel like it, come over for coffee sometimes. And don't forget to bring the cocaine (joke). All the best, Kim."

The e-mail, said one neighbour, "scared the hell out of everybody".

It was at the house in Coatesville that Dotcom and three other men were arrested by police last Friday – Dotcom being discovered in a safe room. According to the New Zealand Herald, Dotcom "emphatically'' denies that he was involved in what has been called a "mega conspiracy" and his lawyers have already filed a High Court appeal against today's custody decision, arguing that with his assets frozen, he is not a flight risk.

Despite the colourful email to neighbours, a Reuters reporter was unable to find any locals who had actually met the multi-millionaire former hacker or his wife Mona, who is due to have twins in April.

On New Year's Eve 2010, Dotcom paid for a $500,000 firework display over Auckland, which he then watched from the privacy of his own helicopter.

This year he stayed home, adding to an increasingly reclusive image. Claiming to have become the world's top player of the video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" after racking up 702 hours of gaming in just months, Dotcom spent December 31 uploading a video of his achievements on YouTube, looking at the camera and punching the air.

The time lapse video shows Dotcom sitting in a chair playing the game on his computer as the sun goes up and down. There is not a champagne bottle or bikini'd body in sight.

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