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Megaupload boss asked for butler while on bail

A New Zealand court granted Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom NZ$60,000 (€36,800) a month in living expenses Thursday as he awaits a US bid to extradite him on online piracy charges. His request for a butler and nannies was rejected.

Megaupload boss asked for butler while on bail
Photo: DPA

The German national had reportedly applied for nearly three times as much, to cover his costs including luxuries such as a butler and nannies, when he was freed on bail last month.

But the High Court in Auckland ruled Dotcom, who US authorities allege earned $42 million from his file-sharing websites in 2010 alone, would have to survive on NZ$60,000 a month, Fairfax Media reported.

It also gave the Internet tycoon, a keen car enthusiast, access to a 2011 Mercedes Benz, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The 38-year-old’s assets were frozen after New Zealand police, cooperating with a major US probe, raided his sprawling Auckland mansion on January 20, seizing artworks and luxury cars including a pink Cadillac.

The US Justice Department and FBI allege Megaupload and related sites netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners over $500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.

Megaupload was founded in 2005 but shut down in January after the Auckland raid.

A US application for Dotcom’s extradition is expected to be heard on August 20. US authorities have said they will seek the maximum penalty of 20 years in jail if he is brought before an American court.

Dotcom, who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight extradition, labelling the case against him “misleading and malicious”.

AFP/hc

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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