Kim Dotcom quits Mega to head new political party, fight extradition

'Mega is in excellent hands'


Internet mogul Kim Dotcom has stepped down from his position as managing director of file-sharing site Mega to focus on his legal battles and his political ambitions.

The loquacious entrepreneur says he plans to form a new political party in New Zealand, of which he will be head, and will lobby for "a new submarine cable, fair Internet pricing and no more data caps."

Dotcom announced his decision to resign from Mega via his Twitter feed on Wednesday, adding that "Mega is in excellent hands."

Said hands include CEO Vikram Kumar, "principal visionary" Tony Lentino, and a "design group" including Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann, and Bram van der Kolk, according to the company's website.

Several of those names were also involved with Megaupload, Dotcom's previous venture, and like Dotcom were arrested following a dramatic 2012 raid on Dotcom's New Zealand home by an international coalition of law enforcement agencies led by the FBI.

Dotcom and his alleged conspirators are currently wanted for extradition to the US to stand trial for copyright infringement, money laundering, conspiracy, and other charges, of which Dotcom claims they are innocent.

The Obama administration's case against Dotcom has unraveled somewhat in the months since the file-sharing kingpin's arrest. In June 2012, a New Zealand High Court judge ruled that the seizure of Megaupload's assets during the raid was illegal, and Kiwi Prime Minister John Key even apologized to Dotcom for unlawful surveillance that led to his arrest.

At the time, Dotcom said he accepted Key's apology. But he has had little good to say about the PM since then, arguing that Key knew about the Megaupload raid before it took place – a charge Key denies.

As a representative of his new party, Dotcom will mount a direct challenge to Key and his New Zealand National Party. Key is planning to seek a third term as prime minister in the 2014 general election.

A permanent resident of New Zealand, rather than a citizen, Dotcom is not himself eligible for election to parliament. In fact, before his as-yet-unnamed party can win representation, it must first secure 5 per cent of the popular vote.

In an interview with TVNZ on Sunday, Key suggested Dotcom call his new party "No Hope."

Despite his renewed interest in legal and political matters, Dotcom says he is not walking away from the industry that helped him make his fortune. Specifically, he says he is "still working on Megabox," a music site that he has been promising to launch since before Mega debuted in January, but he shared no new details about that venture.

Ever the eager self-publicist, Dotcom says he will launch a website featuring "information about our vision and candidates" during what he describes as "a BIG event" to be held on January 20, 2014 – the second anniversary of the FBI's raid on Megaupload. ®


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