AUCKLAND, Jan 19 (Reuters) - 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 Mega.
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 costs.
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