WELLINGTON - Reuters
Dotcom and his wife Mona Schmitz arrive at New Zealand’s High Court in Auckland. REUTERS photo
Kim Dotcom, the founder of the Megaupload online file-sharing site embroiled in U.S. piracy and fraud investigations, said yesterday that New Zealand police punched and kicked him during a raid on his mansion.
Dotcom, a German
national who is fighting extradition to the United States from New Zealand, said he was terrified during a raid in January by armed police using helicopters.
He said when he heard shouting and banging he went to a safe room, where police found him. “And then they were all over me. I had a punch to the face, boots kicking me down to the floor,” Dotcom said. “I was screaming and I was in pain ... I told them there was no need for punching me or hurting me and please stop.”
Acting on a request from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New Zealand authorities raided Dotcom’s rented estate outside Auckland, confiscating computers and hard drives, art work and luxury cars.
However, the raid and seizure of evidence has since been ruled illegal and the court hearing this week is to determine what should happen to the seized material.
The FBI says Dotcom led a group that has netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Lawyers for the flamboyant entrepreneur say the company simply offered online storage. Dotcom and three others were arrested in the raid. Dotcom was kept in custody for a month before being granted bail.