Business News Digital Legal MegaUpload Timeline Top Stories

One of the MegaUpload accused is in the US, speculation he’s prepared to testify against Dotcom

By | Published on Tuesday 10 February 2015


One of the men facing extradition to the US for his involvement in the running of controversial file-transfer company MegaUpload is now in America voluntarily, leading to speculation he has done a deal with prosecutors there and will agree to testify against his former colleagues if and when the whole matter gets to court.

While most attention has been given to the legal wranglings of MegaUpload’s founder and frontman Kim Dotcom, seven men in total were accused of copyright crimes when the file-transfer platform was forced offline by the American authorities in 2012.

None were in the US at the time. Four, including Dotcom, were in New Zealand, and still are, as American prosecutors go through the unwieldy and time-consuming process of trying to extradite the men to the States to face various copyright and other charges relating to their former business.

The other three were in Europe. One was in Slovakia and one in Germany, where extradition isn’t an option for the Americans. But the third, Andrus Nomm, although Estonian, was in the Netherlands at the time of the MegaUpload raid, and extradition there is possible. As a result, Nomm has been on bail in Rotterdam ever since, waiting as the Dutch extradition system goes through the motions.

But now Nomm is in America, where he has been arrested and seemingly questioned by the authorities. It’s not entirely clear why he chose to travel to the US, though it seems likely that he did so having made a deal with American prosecutors that may see him testify against the other MegaUpload founders in return for a less harsh treatment over his involvement in the allegedly copyright infringing business, which was mainly as a programmer anyway.

Dotcom’s American lawyer Ira Rothken admitted to the media yesterday that Nomm’s arrival in the US was a surprise, adding that he was currently trying to find out if the former Mega exec was actually in custody as we speak.

Rothken conceded that it was likely Nomm had made a deal with US investigators, adding that this wasn’t especially surprising given he knew Dotcom’s former colleague was running out of funds, had found it hard to find work following the MegaUpload shutdown, and was, after all, on bail in a foreign country.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Rothken said: “Given [Nomm] didn’t have any more resources, it was expected the US would take advantage. This is to be expected where the US Department Of Justice, in an experimental case, is trying to get folks scared and to testify in certain ways”.

American prosecutors have been keen to find people who worked within MegaUpload to testify against Dotcom and his fellow former management team, and – if they do have Nomm on board – that would be quite a coup, especially if the US can ever get the other defendants into the States to pursue the criminal case against them (in the case of Dotcom, there’s still plenty of extradition hurdles to jump first).

Though Rothken is nevertheless adamant that a Nomm testimony wouldn’t alter his client’s chances of acquittal if it ever gets that far. “If these folks testify truthfully it would be of no benefit to the US”, he said yesterday.