Megaupload’s wealthy, anonymous executives in spotlight

January 20, 2012

On Twitter, the founders of Megaupload are being referred to as the Robin Hoods of the Internet: taking music and videos from the rich studios and passing them out to poor netizens everywhere.


(AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The federal government accused executives at the site of participating in piracy. Just a day after major Internet protests around anti-piracy laws, the U.S. government shut down the site and, with the help of New Zealand authorities arrested the site’s founder, Kim Dotcom who lives in a lavish mansion in Auckland.

Dotcom denies any illegal wrongdoing and within hours of the indictement, the web group Anonymous crashed the Web sites of the Justice Department and Universal Music.

At the center of it all is Dotcom, who legally changed his name. According to New Zealand television station TVNZ, police raided his home early Friday morning where they found 18 luxury vehicles, estimated at $6 million dollars. They also located $11 million in cash in various accounts and government bonds.

His arrest was nothing short of a scene from Hollywood:


German Internet millionaire Kim Dotcom (Tobias Schwarz/Reuters)

His lavish lifestyle in New Zealand was captured by Web developer Elliott Kember on Twitter. Kember drove to the house after hearing about the police raid and photographed the police hauling away the luxury vehicles. Some of which had personalized license plates with the words “Guilty” and “God” on them.


Singer Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

While the events have the elements of a Hollywood screenplay, the federal indictment is not a fiction. According to The Post’s Sari Horwitz and Cecilia Kang, “Investigators say Megaupload’s executives made more than $175 million through subscription fees and online ads while robbing authors, movie producers, musicians and other copyright holders of more than $500 million.”

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