Megaupload Case Grows Bigger, Stranger

A New Zealand court today delayed its decision over whether to grant bail to the founder of Megaupload after prosecutors argued that Kim Dotcom is an “extreme flight risk.” The development comes after a new series of revelations about the man whose file-sharing company is at the center of an increasingly bizarre international copyright case.
The fuss over Megaupload, a site that allowed users to swap movies and music, began last Thursday when US law enforcement unsealed an indictment charging the man named Dotcom and six other company executives of conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering and a host of other charges. Four of the men, including Dotcom, were arrested.
News of the indictment, which came a day after the collapse of proposed anti-piracy legislation, triggered a wave of retaliatory attacks by hacking group Anonymous that knocked a number of websites off-line including those of the Justice Department and the FBI.
Dotcom has since proclaimed his innocence and demanded authorities return tens of millions in seized assets.
The next phase in the proceedings will involve extradition proceedings for Dotcom. New Zealand has an extradition treaty with the United States and prosecutors there have said they are willing to hand over the man who reportedly has passports from Germany and Finland and is a resident of Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Over the weekend, a gush of colorful details emerged about the man whose public persona is a blend between Dr. Evil and an obese James Bond. Here are some recent reports about 38-year-old Dotcom who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz:
— Authorities had to saw off the locks of a panic room where Dotcom was hiding clutching a sawed-off shotgun
— Dotcom has a penchant for guns, Playboy bunnies and illegal car races. In one race, he reportedly bet two female competitors a half million pounds if they won in exchange for a threesome if he won (via Fast Company)
— Police reportedly seized 18 luxury vehicles, including a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and a 1959 pink Cadillac (via Bloomberg)
While the criminal case against Dotcom unfolds, Megaupload continues to be enmeshed in a series of other strange legal proceedings. Recent developments in these include:
— On Friday, Megaupload withdrew a suit against Universal music for taking down a YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) clip in which popular entertainers such as Kanye West and Alicia Keyes appeared to endorse the website. But the case is continuing against other anonymous defendants, and may be a tactic to use the discovery process to obtain documents from Googe which cut off Megaupload from its ad network two years ago. (via Hollywood Reporter)
— The media is speculating about the role of Swizz Beatz, an Atlanta rapper sometimes known as “Mr. Alicia Keyes” who was listed as the CEO of Megaupload but who has yet to be indicted. (via Time)