The Complete and Utter History of Kim Dotcom
In the November 2013 Metro, Chris Barton meets Kim Dotcom and unravels the Dotcom story – part farce, part deadly serious thriller. Below, we present Kim Dotcom: the story so far.
January 21, 1974/
Kim Dotcom born Kim Schmitz in Kiel, Germany.
December 21, 1992/
“Every PBX is an open door for me.“ Using his hacker name Kimble — after Dr Richard Kimble of The Fugitive – 18-year-old Schmitz brags about his exploits.
March 16, 1994/
“… 20 cops raided Schmitz’s house. They confiscated $80,000 of computer equipment and hauled Schmitz off to jail…” First time in prison – for trafficking in stolen phone calling-card numbers.
June 1, 1997/
“I was in the lucky situation that, because of the press coverage of my case, a lot of companies wanted to hire me.” Awaiting sentencing, Schmitz the hacker founds Data Protect, an anti-hacking security firm with a money-back guarantee.
January 1, 1998/
“That’s where I decided to use my know-how and skills to become the world’s most successful businessman.” A Munich court convicts him of 11 cases of computer fraud and 10 cases of “data espionage”. Two years’ probation.
January 1, 2000/
“Internet superhero / Ready to get down / We don’t work / We just fool around.” Theme song to Kimble Goes to Monaco, a documentary celebrating Schmitz’s lavish lifestyle. Introduces the Kimble Clan, including Mathias Ortman and Finn Batato.
January 1, 2000/
“I want to be one of the world’s 10 richest businessmen within 10 years — that’s about $100 billion.” Schmitz thinks bigger after selling 80% of Data Protect. Starts investment fund Kimvestor.
January 28, 2000/
“Everyone tells me to stop talking about my hacker history, about my lifestyle, but I don’t give a ****.” The Telegraph describes Schmitz as a PR man’s nightmare and a journalist’s dream as he talks up his investment in nearly bankrupt LetsBuyIt.com
September 13, 2001/
“Spread the word, stop terror.” Founds Yihat (Young Intelligent Hackers Against Terrorism), offers $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Osama bin Laden.
January 17, 2002/
“Enough is Enough. Kim Schmitz will die next Monday.” Jailed by Thai police for investment fraud, he now wants to be called “His Royal Highness King Kimble the First, Ruler of the Kimpire”.
May 27, 2002/
“Self-proclaimed uber hacker Kim ‘Kimble’ Schmitz was yesterday convicted of insider trading and sentenced to 20 months’ probation and a €100,000 fine.” Schmitz’s second conviction in a Munich court — this time for stock-price manipulation involving LetsBuyIt shares.
December 15, 2004/
“In pursuit of vehicular nirvana, I have participated in street-racing events like Gumball 3000 and others.” Bigger, better, faster. Schmitz, who won the Gumball 3000 rally in 2001 in his Mercedes Brabus SV12 Megacar, proposes “The Ultimate Rally”.
March 21, 2005/
“I decided, ‘Fuck Ultimate Rally.'” Schmitz’s frustration at not being able to email video clips of his driving prowess to friends results in Cloud storage service Megaupload.com. It’s so successful, his rally plans are abandoned. In the same year, Kim Schmitz legally changes his name to Kim Dotcom.
October 13, 2009/
“MegaUpload, MegaRotic, MegaClick and MegaVideo services have turned it into a company that now accounts for 1 percent of all internet traffic.” Arbor Networks finds Carpathia Hosting, which hosts Megaupload, is the new up-and-comer.
April 21, 2010/
“Our newly opened local money laundering facility can help you with your tax fraud optimization.” A little joke: Dotcom frightens his new Kiwi neighbours by email.
November 23, 2010/
“I understand that my permanent residency was granted prior to my arrival in New Zealand in December 2010.” Dotcom provides his Finnish passport to the High Court, proving he was granted permanent residency in 2010.
December 31, 2010/
“He just loves fireworks.” Pyrotechnician Martin Van Tiel explains Dotcom’s $500,000 New Year’s Eve fireworks display over the Waitemata Harbour.
June 12, 2011/
“We have three young children… and we want them to grow up in a safe and healthy environment far away from the troubles of the world.” Dotcom says his family can now live in a “rare paradise on Earth”.
December 9, 2011/
“M-E-G-A. Upload to me today.” Megaupload promotional music video “The Mega Song”. Endorsements by Kanye West, Alicia Keys and will.i.am. Snoop Dogg appear in earlier versions.
December 16, 2011/
“OFCANZ requests GCSB’s assistance in gathering intelligence on Mega Media Group executives’ intentions to travel to New Zealand in mid to late January 2012.” The illegal spying begins. GCSB affidavit with letter from Detective Inspector Grant Wormald of the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of NZ.
December 31, 2011/
“Fuck man! No. 1.” Playing under the gamertag MEGARACER, Dotcom becomes the No 1 player worldwide in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.
January 5, 2012/
“…the ‘Mega Conspiracy,’ a worldwide criminal organisation whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale…” A 72-page US grand jury indictment, based on a two-year FBI-led investigation, charges Dotcom and six others with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and “two substantive counts” of criminal copyright infringement.
January 20, 2012/
“I had a punch to the face, I had boots kicking me down to the floor, I had a knee into the ribs, then my hands were on the floor, one man was standing on my hand.” Operation Debut, the raid on Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion. Along with chief marketing officer Finn Batato, chief technical officer Mathias Ortman and programmer Bram van der Kolk, he is arrested and faces extradition to the United States.
February 22, 2012/
“I’m relieved to go home and see my three little kids and my pregnant wife.” After 31 days in jail, Dotcom is released on bail.
February 23, 2012/
“It is most unlikely that Billy Big Steps can be a permanent resident.” Dawning on the police their surveillance may have been illegal — an email between a police analyst and a GCSB staffer.
February 26, 2012/
“He is the biggest copyright infringer in the world.” Kevin Suh, senior vice-president of content protection at the Motion Picture Association of America, confirms the organisation filed a detailed complaint against Megaupload in 2010, which triggered a federal investigation.
March 1, 2012/
“We can’t be liable for actions of third parties. You know, as long as we follow a regime of taking things down that are reported to us, which we have done over all these years… we are protected according to the law.” Dotcom tells John Campbell on TV3 why he thinks he’s innocent.
May 7, 2012/
“Nothing to fear / Nothing to hide / He’s the majority / So he’s all right. / He is John Banks / He got the vote / And that’s why Key keeps him afloat / On his cabbage boat.” Dotcom releases “Amnesia”, lampooning Banks’ numerous claims not to recall incidents, including being flown by helicopter to Dotcom’s mansion.
June 28, 2012/
“The police relied on invalid warrants when they searched the properties and seized the various items. The search and seizure was therefore illegal.” Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann finds police search warrants were overly broad and did not adequately describe the offences to which they related.
July 12, 2012/
“We have met the enemy, and he is the US.” Recognising the comment may reflect on his impartiality, District Court judge David Harvey steps down from the extradition case.
August 8, 2012/
“Look, you need to have some fucking balls.” Media 7 reporter José Barbosa’s “Swimatkims” visit to Coatesville goes awry when he questions the composition of Dotcom’s genitalia.
August 16, 2012/
“Without access to materials relevant to the extradition hearing phase, the person sought will be significantly constrained in his or her ability to participate in the hearing and the requesting state will have a significant advantage in terms of access to information.” Justice Helen Winkelmann rules that Dotcom is entitled to see the evidence against him at his extradition hearing.
August 29, 2012/
“It will allow us to fight back.” The High Court releases $6 million in seized assets to Dotcom to pay for his lawyers and cover living costs.
September 27, 2012/
“Of course I apologise to Mr Dotcom, and I apologise to New Zealanders.” Prime Minister John Key apologises to Kim Dotcom for “basic errors” by the GCSB.
October 19, 2012/
“The immigration file for Bram van der Kolk was received by Police on 23 December 2011, and the file for Kim Dotcom was received on 11 January 2012.” Inspector Grant Wormald admits in a High Court affidavit that the police knew before the raid that van der Kolk and Dotcom were permanent New Zealand residents.
December 20, 2012/
“I can also advise that, to date, the information that GCSB has passed to Five Eyes partner agencies is limited to selector information provided by OFCANZ, which included selectors associated with Mr Dotcom and Mr van der Kolk.” The GCSB confirms to the High Court in an affidavit by an assistant director of the bureau that it used the Five Eyes spying network.
January 19, 2013/
“This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood.” Dotcom launches new encrypted cloud storage site — mega.co.nz — with a re-enactment of the police raid.
March 1, 2013/
“Disclosure will not be ordered until the defendant has submitted to the jurisdiction of the United States’ courts.” Assistant US Attorney Jay Prabhu in the Court of Appeal, ruling that Dotcom is not entitled to see the evidence against him for his extradition.
April 19, 2013/
“I’ve spent over $20,000 in the past five years on iTunes. I’m not a pirate.” Dotcom declares his innocence.
April 30, 2013/
“Throughout the operation the police paid little or no effective regard to the rights or needs of the occupants of the properties, and dealt with them in a highly aggressive, oppressive and intimidatory fashion, such as to cause significant unnecessary distress and anxiety and fear.” Dotcom files a $6 million compensation claim against the police and the GCSB.
May 7, 2013/
“The problem with the theory, however, is that secondary copyright infringement is not — nor has it ever been — a crime in the United States.” Dotcom’s US lawyers, Robert Amsterdam and Ira Rothkin, point out a fundamental hurdle in the US case.
June 12, 2013/
“One day after Prime Minister John Key made the deal with Warner Bros & MPAA, a BAN on my immigration application in NZ was lifted by NZ SIS [Security Intelligence Service].” Dotcom tweets the immigration conspiracy theory.
July 3, 2013/
“Why are you turning red, Prime Minister?” “I’m not. Why are you sweating?” Dotcom and PM argue about the who-knew-what-when conspiracy.
July 29, 2013/
“Mr Dotcom is not a fugitive in the conventional sense in which many extraditions take place. He has never been to the United States. He is not a former resident of the United States.” Paul Davison, QC, opens oral argument in the Supreme Court on whether Dotcom is entitled to disclosure of the evidence against him at his extradition hearing.
August 31, 2013/
“I have created a draft political program and I am in the early stages of meeting potential candidates to join me.” Dotcom plans to enter New Zealand politics.
September 27, 2013/
“I say #Mega will become a Team NZ sponsor & we will win next time.” Sailing away with Dotcom.
Forthcoming in the courts
Supreme Court judgment on whether Dotcom has the right to see evidence against him.
Court of Appeal hearing on legality of search warrants.
Dotcom’s District Court application relating to mobile phone surveillance.
Dotcom’s civil claim for damages against police.
Extradition hearing continues in District Court.
Photo: Kim Dotcom at the MEGA website launch, Auckland. (Rex Features / Splash News)