David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

FBI gave police details of Dotcom's Kiwi customers

Kim Dotcom. Photo / File.
Kim Dotcom. Photo / File.

The FBI passed specific details about Kiwi films and internet users to police who used the information to help get a search warrant for Kim Dotcom's mansion.

The document, released by the courts, claims the now-defunct filesharing company Megaupload had copies of Love Birds, starring Rhys Darby, and Tracker, starring Temuera Morrison, on its servers.

It also includes details of Megaupload members based in New Zealand who earned money under the company's rewards scheme.

The details were disclosed to the Herald after an application to the North Shore District Court, where the extradition case will be heard in March next year.

Dotcom and three others facing extradition deny claims they were involved in criminal copyright violation through Megaupload, which commanded 4 per cent of the world's internet traffic before it was shut down.

In granting access, Judge David Harvey said there were strong public interest grounds for releasing the information after the search warrant was found to be invalid in a High Court hearing.

The application for the search warrant was made by Detective Sergeant Nigel McMorran, from the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand. It sets out the case against Dotcom and includes a section headed "New Zealand copyright".

The application shows the FBI provided police with details of movies held on Megaupload's servers. It also includes details of "a number of New Zealanders who are making money from the uploading of movies". It identified four individuals, although the Crown successfully argued for their names to be withheld.

The released details showed one person made $5072 from uploading files in 14 months, ending in February 2010.

The indictment which underpins the case against Dotcom and his co-accused claims they deliberately sought to encourage illegal uploading by paying users who contributed popular content. The dividend scheme for members ended almost two years before the raid.

Mr McMorran's application stated Dotcom had earned $52 million in 2010.

"Through copyright infringement [the accused] has been able to generate millions of dollars of profit. This illegally generated money has been used to fund the extravagant lifestyle of Dotcom and his associates."

It goes on to state the money was used to pay for "luxury trips around the world on private superyachts and jets", luxury vehicles and expensive household items and gifts.

The application stated the FBI's "undercover" operation lasted six months and an agent downloaded about $2500 worth of movies, software and television programmes.

The application for the search warrant also claims the company used "high-powered" computer servers in New Zealand.

Mr McMorran said he drove around Dotcom's mansion in Coatesville, Auckland, with two FBI agents in November. He said a string of emails obtained by FBI search warrants revealed "high-powered" computer servers were kept there.

- NZ Herald

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