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Kim Dotcom sues New Zealand government for billions over 2012 MegaUpload raid

By | Published on Monday 22 January 2018

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom marked the sixth anniversary this weekend of the shutdown of his file-transfer platform MegaUpload by suing the New Zealand government for billions of dollars in damages because, well, of course he did.

Dotcom’s home in his adopted country of New Zealand was raided by police in January 2012, just as authorities in the US swooped to shutdown his MegaUpload business, which was accused of knowingly facilitating rampant copyright infringement.

Assets and domains were seized as the MegaUpload websites went offline. Meanwhile Dotcom and his fellow MegaUpload managers were arrested and charged for alleged money laundering and racketeering in addition to copyright crimes.

Six years on, efforts to extradite Dotcom and those other MegaUpload execs based in New Zealand continue to go through the motions. Courts in the country have ruled that extradition can go ahead, but Dotcom et al are yet to exhaust all routes of appeal.

There has been plenty of legal wrangling over those six years in relation to the case against Dotcom. His lawyers have argued that copyright infringement isn’t covered by America and New Zealand’s extradition treaty; that the US is wrong to continue depriving their client of his former assets; and that the New Zealand authorities broke their own rules when raiding the MegaUpload chief’s home all those years ago.

It’s the latter claims, which have been aired plenty of times before, that are at the heart of new civil proceedings filed by Dotcom against the New Zealand government.

As the sixth anniversary of the MegaUpload raid began, Dotcom declared on Twitter: “Today, six years ago, the New Zealand government enabled the unlawful destruction of MegaUpload and seizure of my global assets. I was arrested for the alleged online piracy of my users. Not even a crime in NZ. My lawyers have served a multi-billion dollar damages claim against the government today”.

He added later: “Our damages claim against the government is strong. Any jury will be absolutely shocked by the malicious and unjust persecution that my family had to endure in the last six years. The bullying will result in an unprecedented award of damages and full exposure of those responsible”.

Actually, it turns out, Dotcom’s lawyers started that lawsuit last month. His chief legal rep Ira Rothken told Torrentfreak: “We confirm that our legal team filed a statement of claim in the New Zealand High Court for monetary damages on 22 Dec 2017, on behalf of Kim Dotcom against the United States and NZ governmental entities, alleging that defendants pursued with malice and material non disclosure an erroneous arrest warrant”.

As Rothken states, the new legal claim again argues that the arrest warrant issued for Dotcom was invalid. It then criticises the New Zealand authorities for collaborating with the Americans in their bid to shut down MegaUpload.

Those actions, the legal papers argue, cost Dotcom not only his freedom but also his business that – they add – was worth billions and which – with plans underway in 2012 to IPO – could have delivered a handsome pay-day for the MegaUpload chief later that year.

Hence the claim for mega-bucks damages now. An exact figure isn’t provided in the legal filing, though it says a conservative valuation for the MegaUpload company as of January 2012 was $2.6 billion and Dotcom had a 68% stake in the business.

It remains to be seen how this latest bit of MegaUpload legal shenanigans plays out. Current New Zealand Prime Minister played down the new lawsuit, telling reporters: “This has obviously been an ongoing matter, so no it doesn’t surprise me”.

Meanwhile, given this marks the sixth birthday of our extensive coverage of the MegaUpload shutdown, let’s all celebrate by reminding ourselves how the often controversial file-transfer service got its first mention in the CMU Daily. Yes, let’s all listen to the MegaUpload Song!