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Megaupload mogul starts anew despite legal woes

Megaupload founder and German national Kim Dotcom claimed a "massive" response to his new file-sharing service on Sunday in New Zealand, exactly one year after he was arrested in the world's biggest online piracy case.

Megaupload mogul starts anew despite legal woes
Photo: DPA

The 38-year-old German, who changed his name from Kim Schmitz, is now on bail as US authorities seek his extradition on a range of charges including money laundering, racketeering and copyright theft.

The mega.co.nz website, which replaces the outlawed Megaupload, went live at dawn, on the anniversary of armed police raids on the New Zealand-based Internet tycoon’s mansion in Auckland, which saw him arrested and the site shuttered.

Dotcom hopes the new venture will repeat the success of Megaupload, which

boasted 50 million visitors daily, and initial demand triggered overloads that

caused long delays in accessing the site.

His lawyer Ira Rothken said they were satisfied the new service was legal and that Dotcom believed it was the “most legally scrutinised start up” ever.

The website offers cloud storage with state-of-the-art encryption to ensure only users, not the site administrators, know what they are uploading.

That would theoretically stop authorities from accusing administrators of knowingly aiding online piracy, the central allegation facing Dotcom in the

Megaupload case.

Despite the system overloads, Dotcom expressed delight with the rollout, tweeting within an hour of the launch that there were already 100,000 users registered in possibly the “fastest growing start-up in Internet history”.

Dotcom, who has a reputation as a showman, was dressed for the launch in the same attire he was on the day of the raid, and said he still felt resentment at the way he was treated.

“Yes, of course. We didn’t expect it at all and felt it was extremely unfair. 220 people lost their jobs overnight.”

US authorities allege Megaupload sites netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than $500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows, music and other content.

Dotcom denies the charges which carry jail terms of up to 20 years.

While on bail in New Zealand, his legal team has enjoyed a number of successes challenging the prosecution case, including a ruling that the police raid was illegal and a government admission that Dotcom was illegally spied upon before his arrest.

His extradition hearing is due to be heard in August.

AFP/The Local/mw

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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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