When you first look at the man behind Megaupload, the online file sharing website taken down this past week, you would not necessarily think "celebrity." But, to himself, he is that and much more. Mega's founder, husky Kim Schmitz, now known as Kim Dotcom, has a colorful background and a playboy lifestyle to rival any. The German national was arrested at his own birthday celebration in New Zealand on Thursday for online piracy. While there are plenty of articles about the arrests, some are just popping up that look at the incredible lifestyle of this self-described "Dr. Evil."
Police seized over 60 computer servers at Dotcom's home. He obviously loved his cars nearly as much as computers because police seized at least twenty luxury cars from the mansion including a rare Lamborghini. His licence plates tell the story of an ego gone wild, "GOD," "HACKER," "THIEF," "MAFIA," "KIMCON," "GUILTY" and more. Dotcom raced in the famous Gumball 3000 several times and won the rally in 2001. In one video, he is shown in a Mercedes going over 200 mph on European highways. As he passes a police car, he says "Dr. Evil is always getting away with it!"
Getting away with it seems to be something he excels at. When Dotcom moved to New Zealand, he leased the mansion now called Dotcom Mansion. He wanted to buy it but he was turned down for failing their "Good Citizen" test. But, when you have money to burn, no worries, just buy your way to citizenship. That's exactly what he did by investing $10 million in government bonds, donating to the Christchurch Earthquake Fund and paying for the New Year's fireworks display in Auckland, which he watched from his own helicopter.
His cars were not the only luxury. 3news says the flamboyant Dotcom had "parties, girls, yachts, Ferrari's and helicopters." Police seized the computer servers, three 82" LCD T.V.'s, sculptures, custom motorcycles, watches, a Ski-Doo, artwork, electronics and guns. They seized bank accounts, PayPal accounts and assets they claim are worth at least $175,000,000. American authorities will help decide what happens to the assets. According to the F.B.I., two years ago, Mega had already earned Dotcom $52 million.
Dotcom is know for crazy public relations stunts, but nothing could have generated more PR than a YouTube video filled with music stars that was posted last December. The video was a promotional tool for Megaupload and Megamusic (along with others, all owned by Dotcom's "Megaworld"). It featured Kim Kardashian, P Diddy, Jamie Foxx, Alicia Keys (read here about her husband's involvement in the company), Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and pretty much everyone from the hip-hop world. The controversy after the video was released gave Dotcom more publicity than he could have dreamed of. How did he pull this off? Friends in high places, of course.
In another YouTube video, posted last New Year's Eve, Dotcom and friends knew he was about to hit number one on the insanely popular game, Modern Warfare 3. In the time-lapse video, it shows Dotcom playing the game, seemingly for days as you witness day to night outside a window, and a timer counting along. As he hits first place, confetti is thrown and a big #1 cake appears on the table. The video description says "Kim Dotcom aka MEGARACER (XBOX) is #1 in Modern Warfare 3.
Leaderboards #1 for Kills and Leaderboards #1 for Free-For-All. Currently over 150,000 kills. Best of 15+ million online players! Don't hate me because I beat you. Respect me because I teach you :-)" No ego involved here. Of course, it helps if you have the luxury of not having to leave for work or school.
According to an autobiographical article he wrote for TorrentFreak last December, Dotcom has settled down. He wrote "I made mistakes when I was young and I paid the price. Steve Jobs was a hacker and Martha Stuart [sic] is doing well after her insider trading case. I think over a decade after all of this happened it should NOT be the dominating topic. I am 37 years old now, I am married, I have three adorable children with two more on the way (twin girls - yeah) and I know that I am not a bad person. I have grown and I have learned. Making this into an issue about my past is unfair to everyone else working at Mega."
When police swooped in on Dotcom Mansion in Coatesville, near Auckland, in two marked helicopters, Mr. Dotcom ran inside his leased home and activated electronic locks. Once inside, they found him inside of a "panic room," and had to cut into it to get him out. They say he was near what looked like a sawed off shotgun. Yesterday at his extradition hearing, he was denied bail. The fact that the F.B.I. could go into New Zealand and eight other countries for this so-called "Mega-conspiracy" has internet users all over the world concerned. It reeks of SOPA and PIPA. Time will tell what happens to Dotcom and Megaupload.