Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom sues New Zealand for $6.8bn
An internet entrepreneur accused of masterminding one of the largest copyright infringements in history is suing the New Zealand government for $6.8bn in damages — equivalent to 3.5 per cent of the Pacific nation’s GDP — over the destruction of his business. Kim Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the US, alleges Wellington unlawfully issued an arrest warrant in 2012 that resulted in him being on bail for six years. This act damaged his reputation, restricted him from leaving New Zealand and left him under the threat of extradition, according to court documents. Mr Dotcom, a 44-year old German-Finnish national, is seeking damages for lost profits from Megaupload, the file-sharing site that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation ordered shut down in 2012. He alleges the business, in which he owned a 68 per cent stake, would now be worth $10bn. “I cannot be expected to accept all the losses to myself and my family as a result of the action of the New Zealand government,” Mr Dotcom told the BBC.
There are 2 reasons why you as a NZer should care about the Kim Dotcom case.
The first is the unbelievable injustice of the entire fiasco. Kim was illegally spied upon by the GCSB, he was set up by NZ immigration services so that he would enter the country in the first place, our security apparatus slavishly followed US agencies with a live feed to the NSA during the raid, the entire event was politically motivated after Corporate Hollywood threatened to with-hold donations to Obama’s Presidential bid if they didn’t make a symbolic gesture against internet piracy, and the case against him is so weak it looks like incredible over reach by our authorities and US authorities…
Harvard professor says Dotcom allegations lack merit
Dotcom’s extradition hearing is due to start next week and the latest legal twist in the case has been filed in court this week.
In submissions put forward by Dotcom’s US lawyer Ira Rothken yesterday, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig said the United States allegations lacked merit.
Mr Rothken told Morning Report today that the legal team was very pleased to have someone of Professor Lessig’s status say that Dotcom committed no crime.
“We think that it’s not only beneficial for Kim Dotcom, but for internet users across the globe, who make use of technologies like cloud storage on a daily basis.”
The United States has been trying to extradite Mr Dotcom since January 2012, when he was arrested on copyright and money-laundering charges relating to the now-defunct Megaupload website.
Later that year Mr Dotcom was found to be the subject of illegal spying by the GCSB, after which an independent review of the bureau was ordered.
Mr Rothken said the case against Dotcom should have been thrown out before it was even filed.
“We think the United States should take a look at this and seriously re-evaluate their case.”
Dotcom will appear before the court on Monday.
…this case has been an abomination of legal process, jurisdiction and injustice. You might not like Kim Dotcom, but the manner in which his rights have been breached and 70 odd armed paramilitary cops broke into his home and terrorised him and his family is as unacceptable as the abuses of power used in court against him.
This is not what our justice system should be used for, we are not a puppet for US interests, we should be a sovereign state with our own laws and judicial system that is beyond influence by America and their corporate overlords.
But the injustice of this case may not move you. You may have bought into the media hype of Dotcom as a Bond Villain and enjoyed his failure at the ballot box. You may have decided that despite Assange, Snowden and Greenwald proving at the Moment of Truth that John Key lied to us about mass surveillance, that Kim fell short of what he promised and he got his just desserts.
If you fall into that category then the possibility of being sued if this goes south may concern you…
New twist in Kim Dotcom case
The managers of the nation’s finances were kept at arm’s length when the Kim Dotcom case required Kiwi taxpayers to underwrite a potential future legal suit from the internet entrepreneur, a new document shows.
Instead, then-police commissioner Peter Marshall signed the “undertaking in respect to costs and damages” – the agreement which would allow Dotcom to sue New Zealand if it emerged the FBI case against him was unfair and unfounded.
It was the first time that the Crown was required to give an “undertaking” in a case where the property of someone facing charges was seized and was because the charges were brought by a foreign agency.
The need to provide an “undertaking of liability” emerged after police seized the tycoon’s cash and property without notice. The law required Dotcom have the chance to challenge the seizure and be given formal notice of his right to sue the Crown.
The need to provide an undertaking in March and April 2012 surprised the Crown and the Herald sought details of the debate and consideration over the risk to which NZ was exposed through the Official Information Act in July 2012. Treasury refused to supply the information sought so the Ombudsman was called on to investigate.
After three years of deliberation, Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakeham found there was a “public interest” which would be met by releasing a summary, which Treasury sent to the Herald this month.
The summary showed there were meetings “to discuss the case and how to inform ministers” were held Crown Law, police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Treasury.
On March 22 2012 Finance minister Bill English was told he “did not have a role in approving or signing off this kind of undertaking”. Instead, it was the Commissioner of Police’s role under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.
While Mr English was kept briefed – including a briefing from Mr Marshall and Attorney General Chris Finlayson – there was no process established through which he was able to be formally involved in the undertaking.
Under the Public Finance Act, Mr English is responsible for matters which might impact on Crown accounts. Dotcom has claimed the loss of Megaupload cost him more than $2 billion although others have argued the impact is far less.
The summary provided to the Herald said there had been a review of the mutual legal assistance framework of which Treasury was a part. It “intended to use the forum to recommend the establishment of a consultation process and set out criteria for issuing undertakings”.
The requirement to give an undertaking to the court to meet any damages was a factor which put Sony off joining a civil case seeking to claim Dotcom’s assets, emailed hacked and released last year revealed. Sony’s top copyright lawyer, Aimee Wolfson, said it was “not at all unimaginable” Dotcom would avoid extradition or even successfully defend himself in the United States.
The studio is not a participant in a case in NZ courts with discussion in the emails showing potential exposure to a legal suit from Dotcom concerning executives.
The risk to which New Zealand is exposed was underscored by a legal opinion released today from Harvard University’s professor of law Lawrence Lessig, one of the world’s leading experts on copyright law. He said the FBI charges would not stand up in US courts and there was no basis in law for Dotcom to be extradited.
…let’s re-read that again. Sony decided not to sign up to the case against Dotcom because they believed there was a chance he would get off these trumped up charges and in turn sue everyone involved in taking him down to the tune of $6.8billion???
Remember what David Fisher revealed late last year that John Key knew mass surveillance was being planned but lied about it to avoid getting caught in the Moment of Truth that our mainstream media claimed was a massive flop?
National signed us up to this so they could suck up to America who wanted to stamp their jurisdiction over cyberspace and to ensure Corporate Hollywood continued to donate to Obama’s re-election campaign.
This entire spiteful episode has been a blunder and needlessly cruel – that the case could fall to pieces and Kim could successfully sue NZ seems the only righteous outcome.
Let’s see how many sleepy hobbits are laughing if Kim Dotcom wins at the Supreme Court.