- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Budget deal exposes GOP divisions; conservatives slam tax hikes, vague cuts
Megaupload founder joked about his ‘hacker’ past
Question of the Day
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) - Two years ago, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom joked in emails with his new neighbors in New Zealand about his bad-boy reputation before telling them his criminal past was behind him and he was coming to the country with good intentions.
“I am a former hacker” who was once convicted of insider trading, he wrote, before going on to say “In all seriousness: My wife, two kids and myself love New Zealand and ‘We come in peace.’”
Dotcom’s emails came to light Wednesday, the same day a New Zealand judge denied him bail following his arrest on U.S. accusations of copyright infringement and a U.S. official confirmed the arrest of a fifth member of his company.
Judge David McNaughton in Auckland denied Dotcom bail pending a hearing Feb. 22 on his possible extradition to face trial in the United States, saying Dotcom poses a flight risk. Dotcom, 38, insists he is innocent and poses no flight risk.
New Zealand police arrested three other Megaupload employees last week on U.S. accusations they facilitated millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content, costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. McNaughton is expected to make bail rulings on the three later this week or early next week.
In Washington, a U.S. Justice Department official said Dutch police have arrested a fifth suspect _ software programmer Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and a resident of both Turkey and Estonia. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is still pending.
In New Zealand, Dotcom’s neighbor Kevin Crossley said Dotcom cut an imposing figure when he took a lease on the $24 million luxury mansion in their sleepy neighborhood of Coatesville, near Auckland. Crossley said he never met Dotcom, but he would see him zooming past in luxury cars when he went horse riding.
Dotcom sent emails to Crossley’s wife France Komoroski and other neighbors, joking that “a criminal neighbor like me” could help them with insider stock tips and tax fraud. But then he turned serious.
“Fifteen years ago I was a hacker and 10 years ago I was convicted for insider trading,” he wrote. “Hardly the kind of crimes you need to start a witch hunt for. Since then I have been a good boy, my criminal records have been cleared, and I created a successful Internet company that employs 100+ people.”
Dotcom first developed a reputation as a computer hacker in his native Germany, where he was born Kim Schmitz.
Later, in 2002, he received a 20-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of manipulating stock prices to earn himself $1.1 million.
The flamboyant Dotcom also made headlines after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 when he offered a $10 million reward on his website for information leading to the capture of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
In New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key faced awkward questions Wednesday about how immigration officials could have granted Dotcom residency despite his prior convictions _ and then the government could later turn down his application to buy the Coatesville mansion due to questions over his character prompted by those same convictions.
Key said Dotcom had disclosed his convictions in his immigration application but that enough time had elapsed to give him a clean slate. Key acknowleged it seemed inconsistent that the test for buying land would be higher than the test for residency.
“What I’ve asked my officials to do, is to go away and have a look, because there’s clearly a potential anomoly there,” Key told reporters Wednesday.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Obama administration blasts GOP for criticism of Castro handshake
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow