David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Dotcom: Hollywood bosses pressured White House

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Megaupload millionaire Kim Dotcom claims Hollywood bosses pressured the US Government to tackle the filesharing website before the raid on his $30 million Auckland mansion.

Publicly released White House logs show meetings between studio executives and US Vice President Joe Biden about six months before the January raids that saw Dotcom and three Megaupload colleagues arrested and facing the threat of extradition.

At least one person named in the logs also met a senior New Zealand politician before the raid, at a time when parts of the Government were aware of interest in Dotcom.

The logs show Mr Biden met industry powerbrokers, including bosses from Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Walt Disney, the Motion Picture Association's Asia managing director Mike Ellis and Motion Picture Association of America chief executive Chris Dodd.

Former justice minister Simon Power met Mr Ellis in March last year. Mr Ellis is a former police superintendent in Hong Kong and an expert in extradition.

"I do know from a credible source that it was Joe Biden, the best friend of former Senator and MPAA boss Chris Dodd, who ordered his former lawyer and now state attorney Neil MacBride to take Mega down,'' Dotcom told the TorrentFreak website.

"It is interesting that a man by the name of Mike Ellis of MPA Asia, an extradition expert and former superintendent of the Hong Kong police, was also at a meeting with Dodd, all studio bosses and Joe Biden. The same Mike Ellis met with the Minister of Justice Simon Power in New Zealand.''

Mr Power declined Dotcom's application to buy the mansion in Coatesville four months later after officials recommended the sale be approved. The decision came just days after the Crown Law Office started working on the FBI case.

Fellow minister Maurice Williamson had already approved the sale but changed his mind after Mr Power turned Dotcom down. It has since emerged that officials told the ministers of interest in Dotcom by the FBI after a tip from an unknown source to Immigration New Zealand in 2010.

Officials at Immigration NZ and the Overseas Investment Office investigated Megaupload, raising no concerns about its operation. They also investigated Dotcom's wealth, saying it had been earned legitimately. Prime Minister John Key said Mr Power's rejection of the application was simply because he was conservative and believed it did not have the right feel.

Dotcom elaborated on his claims about the US Government outside the High Court at Auckland this morning, American Independence Day, where legal arguments about the raid on his mansion continue.

He told reporters that Hollywood's relationship with US President Barack Obama meant the forces aligned against Megaupload were huge.

"The role of Hollywood in this case is significant. Hollywood is one of the most significant contributors to Obama and his campaign. They are trying to defend their own outdated business model.''

Dotcom said his upcoming song Mr President, to be released within days, would ask: "What about free speech Mr President? What happened to change?''

In a High Court decision released last week, Justice Helen Winkelmann found that search warrants used in the raid on Dotcom's mansion were invalid because they did not adequately describe the allegations against him.

She said the warrants, issued by the District Court, gave police authority to seize too wide a range of items.

However, Justice Winkelmann said a resolution was to be decided by lawyers from both sides.

Crown lawyer John Pike told the court this morning that police affidavits about the search were required.

Dotcom's lawyer Paul Davison QC said he suspected police evidence would be "controversial'' for his client and he may need to cross-examine the police.

Mr Davison said his client had clear views on the police raids and would also want to be heard.

During the raid police seized 135 hard drives and computers, including the computer that operated the mansion's security system.

Mr Davison said Dotcom wanted computers not relevant to the case returned.

Despite Justice Winkelmann's finding, Dotcom said outside court he had no plans for a case against the New Zealand Government.

"I want to return back to a normal life. That is more important than anything to me. The value of money is not the most important thing to me.''

He said the most important thing was the impact and "pain'' the raid and subsequent court cases had on his family.

"Right now we are not asking for any money. Right now we are looking for access to information to help us fight the extradition. The US Government and the Crown are doing everything they can to keep us from getting that information.''

Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested after the FBI asked for help.

US officials claim the men were behind the world's biggest criminal copyright violation through Megaupload, which carried about 4 per cent of the world's internet traffic. The men deny the charges.

Outside court Dotcom said the accusations against him were ``pioneering'' a new area of law.

"They are turning civil law into criminal law and are trying to make me liable for the actions of those who have used my cloud storage site.''

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 22 Aug 2014 11:30:28 Processing Time: 468ms