Dotcom claims he's broke and facing jail
INTERNET mogul Kim Dotcom, accused of pocketing more than US$175 million (S$228 million) from pirated copies of movies and other material, yesterday claimed that he was broke and facing jail in New Zealand.
In a live video link from his New Zealand mansion to the UnBound Digital conference in England, the German-born entrepreneur who was originally named Kim Schmitz, said he had no money left to defend himself at a bail hearing in Auckland today.
"I'm defenceless and they're using that opportunity to try and get my bail revoked, and that's what I'm facing on Thursday," said Mr Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on Internet piracy charges.
"This might be my last public appearance and if I go back to jail, you can tell everybody that was the one."
Mr Dotcom, whose New Zealand lawyers recently quit, claimed he has spent US$10 million on legal costs since he was arrested.
Dotcom's Megaupload operation, at the centre of the piracy accusations, has been shut down and he said shares in his new data storage company Mega were held in trust by his wife and children.
He and his wife separated earlier this year.
The US Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation claim that Megaupload and related sites netted more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds, and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.