Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has fans and enemies. Some viewed his now-defunct website as a sanctuary for free speech (and content). Others were incensed by his larger-than-life persona. And then there were copyright holders, who held that the multi-millionaire was getting rich off their product and sighed relief when he was detained by New Zealand authorities for copyright infringement violations last month.
Out on bail, the divisive Dotcom has broken his silence on the raid that put him behind bars, how he’s holding up and what he thinks about the United States’ extradition request.
Speaking to TorrentFreak via telephone, Dotcom recalled the events of the daring January 19 raid on his Coatesville mansion with awe and no small amount of cynicism.
“You should have been here, it was amazing, it was like a war zone. Armed police everywhere, two helicopters. The New Zealand authorities certainly put on a show for the FBI,” said Dotcom, adding that authorities “went way too far.”
In a news report this month, Dotcom’s bodyguard Wayne Tempero said he was shocked by the sheer scope of it. Tempero, who was sleeping in a guest house located on Dotcom’s estate, described how heavily-armed special agents arrived by helicopter and armored van to apprehend Dotcom, who had barricaded himself inside a secret room.
Police wielding circular saws and sledgehammers busted through numerous doors and walls before Tempero led them to Dotcom’s hiding spot – “the red room.”
Dotcom was released last week under the conditions that he refrain from accessing the Internet and stay within 80kms of his home. On February 10, Bram van der Kolk, a programmer for Megaupload and fellow detainee, was released from detention with similar rules. Two other suspects, Finn Batato and Mathias Ortmann, were also freed prior to Dotcom.
U.S. authorities are expected to file extradition requests with the New Zealand court for Dotcom, van der Kolk and two other Megaupload associates by March 2. Dotcom said he is confident that the group will beat U.S. extradition.