The giant, bizarre file-sharing god Kim Dotcom, formerly Kim Schmitz, has been denied bail by a New Zealand court pending a February 22 extradition hearing that could bring him stateside. The Megaupload founder is facing allegations in the United States that his service violated copyrights to the tune of $500 million in potential revenue for rightful owners. A judge ruled yesterday that Dotcom, an allegedly elusive computer criminal in the past, poses a flight risk. Or maybe he just wants to get back to that overblown mansion of his.
Since last week's raid in New Zealand, a fifth person has been arrested in connection with the case, this time in the Netherlands. The bail rulings for the others arrested in association with Dotcom will likely come later this week.
Meanwhile, the details of Dotcom's life of embarrassing excess continue to trickle out, this time in the form of a strange e-mail he sent to his neighbors. The people living nearby, the Guardian reports, were curious about the big guy's fleet of luxury vehicles (all since seized by authorities) and the cars' curious license plates that read, "HACKER," "GOD," "GUILTY," and so on. Upon learning of Dotcom's checkered past, they alerted the owner of his leased mansion. Dotcom responded in a message:
"Dear Neighborhood-watch," began the email dated 21 April 2010. "As you all know I recently moved into the Neighborhood and I am a former hacker. Well I was just hacking into a local mail server and guess what I found.
"First of all let me assure you that having a criminal Neighbor like me comes with benefits.
"1. Our newly opened local money laundering facility can help you with your tax fraud optimization.
2. Our network of international insiders can provide you with valuable stock tips.
3. My close personal relations with other (far worse) criminals can help you whenever you have to deal with a nasty Neighbor."
It continued: "In all seriousness: My wife, two kids and myself love New Zealand and 'We come in peace'.
He insisted the criminal life was behind him and bragged of employing over 100 people at "a successful Internet company." He concluded, "If you feel like it come over for coffee sometimes. And don't forget to bring the cocaine (joke). All the best, Kim." Here we are, less than two years later, and the FBI has just removed Dotcom from a panic room in his house, where he sat waiting with a sawed-off shotgun. You can't make this stuff up.