When Kim Dotcom, the flamboyant founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload.com, was arrested in January by the New Zealand police, it wasn't a simple police operation. Scores of crack police fireteams armed with automatic weapons descended upon his mansion in helicopters and armoured vehicles. The arrest was made at the behest of the FBI, which was investigating the Internet tycoon on allegations of illegally copying and distributing music, movies, and other copyright content, thereby amassing wealth to the tune of $175 million. Dotcom's lawyers, however, have rubbished the allegations by claiming that their client merely offered online storage for user data.
The excessive force employed in the arrest based on a US warrant would have been befitting for someone such as Osama Bin Laden or an international drug kingpin. The nature of the raid had left everyone scratching their heads. It has now been revealed that the FBI believed, or at least convinced the New Zealand authorities into believing that Kim Dotcom had some sort of 'doomsday device' that allowed him to wipe out all traces of piracy with the push of a button. Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, who supervised the raid, told the Auckland High Court that Dotcom “carried a device with him to delete servers around the world”.
Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload
The Special Tactics Group of the police – the only ones trained to deploy from helicopters- had been roped in because the purported 'doomsday device' could have been set off by any of the 20 people present in Dotcom's mansion from any computer or phone. Needless to say, no evidence of such a device capable of nuking pirated servers across the world has been found till date. The perceived risk and the need to restrain every individual in the mansion prompted the New Zealand police to mobilise a 30-member team for the arrest.
The judicial review of the raid has found that the search warrants were illegal. Dotcom was eventually granted bail after spending months in custody. However, US authorities are still litigating to extradite the Megaupload founder. Meanwhile, the man himself had tweeted expressing willingness to visit USA to face the extradition charges, as long as the US Department of Justice promised a bail and was willing to unfreeze his assets in order to fund legal expenses.
Publish date: August 11, 2012 5:52 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 11:37 pm
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