The clock is running down for Kim Dotcom, the Megaupload founder whose riches and eccentricities make him a kind of hacker Howard Hughes. In a last-ditch effort to avoid extradition from New Zealand to the United States for trial, Dotcom's offering $5 million to anyone who can prove corruption in his case.
Dotcom chose to announce his "bounty" offer to Torrentfreak, where he cast the net of desirable information quite wide:
Let me be clear, we are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood.
He is not picky about how useful the information must be to claim it:
I will not just offer a bounty for the piece of 'case winning' information but for anything useful.
U.S. prosecutors allege that Dotcom and his partners formed a "Mega Conspiracy" (their term in the indictment, not mine) to commit copyright infringement and, you know, fraud and money laundering and all that good racketeering stuff. Matters look pretty bad for Dotcom in the indictment itself, which cites many emails back and forth between Megaupload employees in which they discuss various plans to transmit copyrighted material and deceive copyright holders about whether they are taking it down ("We have a funny business … modern days [sic] pirates :)").
Dotcom has been living in New Zealand since 2010, and has been using his money to throw his weight around in New Zealand politics, but he is actually a German citizen. And he has been losing a series of battles in the courts trying to prevent his extradition. Over the course of that battle he has repeatedly said that he believes the case against him is marred by corruption. He is reportedly paranoid that he will be killed. And to be fair to him, at one point his home in New Zealand was raided by helicopters and quite a few police. His complaints here seem more prosaic, though:
Should you think you might be able to fulfill his "Whistleblower" request, Dotcom's next extradition hearing is scheduled for July 7. But there's another deadline to consider, too: In April major film studios and music labels slapped Dotcom with a giant civil copyright infringement lawsuit and are seeking to have his New Zealand assets frozen pending its outcome. One suspects that might throw a wrench in getting payment of that bounty.
[Photo via Getty.]