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Snooping on the Kim Dotcom crew's inboxes

PLUS: The alleged pirates' big boys' toys | Kim Dotcom splashes out on one of the New Zealand's most expensive lawyers.

Sat, 21 Jan 2012

Two things strike me about the indictment issued against Kim Dotcom, his companies and a series of colleagues at his company Megaupload.

One, it quotes numerous emails between the co-accused. It looks the FBI somehow gained access to many of Kim Dotcom's emails, and the inboxes of his immediate associates.

Two – the number plates on those cars! (Scroll to the end of the indictment - here as a PDF - to see the full list of look seized yesterday).

If you’re running a highly controversial website, one would think you’d try to keep a low-ish profile.

Instead, Mr Dotcom, and his crew, had a series of vehicles that veritably seem to goad authorities.

Those on the indictment (all up, $6 million in luxury cars were seized, most from the $30 million Chrisco mansion rented by Mr Dotcom):

  • 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM,  Plate No. “GOOD
  • 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG 5.5L Kompressor, Plate No. “EVIL”;
  • 2010 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG L, Plate No. “CEO
  • 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drop Head Coupe, License Plate No. “GOD
  • Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, VIN WDD2120772A103834, License Plate No. “STONED”;
  • Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, License Plate No. “GUILTY
  • 2007 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG, Plate No. “KIMCOM
  • 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, VIN WDC1641772A542449, License  “MAFIA”;
  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG, Plate Nos. “POLICE” or “GDS672”;
  • 2010 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG, VIN WDD2163742A026653, License Plate No. “HACKER

One wonders how a number of those plates ever got approved (and they were in active use; media photographed the "POLICE" and "STONED" ones, among others yesteday).

Sixty Dell R710 servers were also seized, along with two 108-inch Sharp LCD TVs, two 65-inch Sharp LCD TVs, a 56-inch TVLogic TV (TVLogic being a professional broadcast series), a jet ski and other toys.

But right now, I'm guessing one of the toughest things for Mr Dotcom is going at least 48 hours without internet.

With a bail hearing adjourned until Monday, the alleged pirate - who turns 38 today - and his crew are spending this weekend in jail.

The birthday link is no coincidence. Police say a extravagant birthday bash was planned at Mr Dotcom's Coatesville mansion. The occassion allowed authories to nab him, and co-accused Bram van der Kolk (29), Finn Batato (38), Mathias Ortmann (40) in one location.

Big legal guns
Things will get interesting from here. The US government is clearly intent on extraditing the alleged pirate. 

But he won't go without a fight.

Mr Dotcom has retained the services of Paul Davison QC - reckoned by NBR's legal correspondent Jock Anderson to be one of the sharpest, and certainly one of the most expensive, lawyers in the country.

Someone who's worked on a trial with Mr Davison told me Friday: "He's definitely one of the top defence QCs in the country by far. He's smart, methodical, and very thorough."

Mr Dotcom has reportedly also engaged US "super lawyer" Robert Bennett, best known for representing former President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Mr Bennett apparently charges north of $1000 an hour. But if the US Department of Justice is correct in its assertion that Mr Dotcom earned $US52 million from Megaupload last year, he can afford it.

NBR's Jock Anderson will be in court Monday morning for the bail hearing , so check back then for updates.

A footnote: I asked NBR's Arts & Film correspondent John Daly-Peoples for his verdict on Kim Dotcom's art collection (seized artwork is also listed on the indictment).

John replied, "The art in Dotcom's collection appears to be expensivene pieces based on Japanese anime cartoons. It is not very significant, appealing to unsophisticated nerdy types."

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Snooping on the Kim Dotcom crew's inboxes