AUCKLAND Jan 19 Here are the milestones in the
past year for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom plans to
launch on Jan. 20 a new online file storage system, known as
Jan. 20, 2012 - Seventy armed New Zealand police raid
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's mansion outside Auckland, acting
on a request from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Dotcom and his colleagues Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and
Bram van der Kolk are served extradition and search warrants,
arrested, and taken into custody. As operators of the website,
they are charged with online piracy, fraud and money laundering,
and their computers and files are seized. Megaupload is closed
down. The raid occurs on the same day U.S. lawmakers axe
anti-piracy legislation following heavy public opposition.
Feb. 22 - Dotcom is released on bail, but his movements are
restricted and he is prohibited from leaving New Zealand. His
bail conditions are eventually relaxed to allow him free
movement within the country, while the millionaire is given some
access to his frozen funds to pay his legal team and living
June 28 - A New Zealand court rules that search warrants
used by local police to raid the Dotcom mansion were illegal,
and moves by the FBI to copy data from Dotcom's computers to
take offshore were also unlawful. The court's action is seen by
many as weakening the extradition case against Megaupload.
Aug. 16 - U.S. efforts to extradite Dotcom are dealt another
blow as a New Zealand court rules that prosecutors must show
evidence to support charges of internet piracy and copyright
breaches. The judge in the case says withholding evidence from
Dotcom would give Washington a significant advantage in the
extradition hearing. She also rules that the document used to
order his extradition was illegal.
Sept. 27 - New Zealand's Prime Minister admits that the
country's spy agency illegally carried out surveillance on
Dotcom, a resident of the country, despite a law which prohibits
monitoring citizens and residents.
Oct. 10 - A U.S. federal judge rules that the U.S.
government's criminal case against Megaupload will proceed,
while leaving open the option of dismissing the case at a later
date on grounds including the possibility that delays in
proceedings have denied Megaupload to its right to due process.
Jan. 20, 2013 - Dotcom is due to launch his new cyberlocker,
Mega.co.nz, whose encryption system is designed to offer
water-tight privacy protection of user files. The launch comes
as Dotcom and his colleagues await their extradition hearing,
which has been delayed until August.
(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu)