Key moments in the Kim Dotcom online piracy case

18th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

A timeline of key events in the Kim Dotcom case as a New Zealand court prepares to decide on a US bid to extradite the Internet mogul to face online piracy charges.

March 2005 - Kim Dotcom establishes file-sharing site Megaupload in Hong Kong. At its height, Megaupload claims to have 50 million daily users and account for four percent of the world's Internet traffic.

February 2010 - Dotcom moves to New Zealand, declaring he is toning down his party lifestyle to concentrate on raising his family.

January 2012 - Dotcom's online empire comes crashing down when armed police storm his Auckland mansion at the request of US authorities. Among the items seized are large amounts of cash, a life-size Predator statue and 18 luxury cars with licence plates including "STONED", "HACKER" and "GUILTY".

February 2012 - Dotcom granted bail after a month in jail. He vows to stay in New Zealand and fight FBI allegations Megaupload netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners $500 million-plus by offering pirated content.

June-October 2012 - Questions raised about the case against Dotcom after a court rules the raid on his home was illegal and New Zealand's GCSB intelligence agency admits it illegally spied on him before the operation. The court ruling is later overturned but Prime Minister John Key apologises to Dotcom about the spying.

January 2013 - Dotcom launches a new cloud storage site, Mega, on the anniversary of the raid. He later distances himself from the company, which now claims to have more than 22 million registered users, to concentrate on his legal battles.

September 2014 - After being named among the 100 most trusted people in New Zealand, Dotcom's attempt to capitalise on his profile at national elections backfires badly. His Internet-Mana party bombs at the poll and he admits his name was "poison" as arch-enemy Key is re-elected.

September 21, 2015 - Extradition hearing due to open for Dotcom and three co-accused -- ex-Megaupload executives Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk -- after numerous delays. If sent to the United States, they will face charges of racketeering, fraud, money laundering and copyright theft carrying jail terms of up to 20 years.

© 2015 AFP

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