Welcome back, Kim Dotcom! How we have missed you. The larger-than-life founder of Internet filesharing site Megaupload — he of the 24 cars, $24 million mansion and weirdly grandiose music videos — was arrested in January in New Zealand and charged with copyright infringement, among other offenses. The 6 ft., 7in, 300lb. entrepreneur is under house arrest awaiting his extradition hearing, but he’s recently taken to Twitter, where’s he’s making not-so-subtle jabs against the authorities and their case against him.
In little more than a week he’s attracted more than 45,000 followers, with tweets that have provided a glimpse into the personal life of the enigmatic German-born Finnish citizen who was once rumored to be worth as much as $175 million.
@KimDotcom seems like a fairly tame handle for the man who owned at least two dozen cars, many adorned with flamboyant vanity license plates reading things like “POLICE” and “GOD.” But his Twitter account is just another middle finger raised towards the powers-that-be, with Dotcom taking every opportunity to skewer authorities for their efforts to lock him up for what he calls a simple, honest “cloud storage business”. He mocks the declaration that he was a “flight risk” with a child-like photo of himself flying like an airplane. He jokes about driving to Mexico — apparently the name of a nearby restaurant. And above all he maintains his innocence while managing to convey the impression that he’s still living large in the face of the allegations against him.
Dotcom’s foray into Twitter coincides with that of his wife, Mona, who’s joined the social media network as well. So far, it’s been overwhelmingly an Instagram-fest, with both husband and wife posting many pictures of their five little ones, two of whom were just born in March. Also featuring heavily in his Instagram photos are alleged co-conspirators Finn Batato, Matthias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, three of the six other men named in the January indictment.
Other than a photographic glimpse into his (still) lavish life, though, Dotcom’s outgoing tweets are rather standard. They’re laden with platitudes and retweets of fawning followers.
For his part, though, Dotcom follows only a single person – President Barack Obama. Why? “Because he gave me ‘change’ and I might return the favor,” Dotcom tweeted to a follower who asked. Dotcom seems to be planning, according to a tweet, to dedicate his next song to Obama. (We’re hardly optimistic, though, about Dotcom’s single, given his only prior musical experience of note was his nasal-y talk-singing cameo singing in the Megaupload ad he released last December.)
Upon his arrest, Dotcom at first wasn’t allowed Internet access – an understandable restriction considering the nature of the crimes of which he’s accused. But as a condition of his complex bail agreement, Dotcom was granted a Web connection in April, along with a $47,000 monthly allowance, from assets frozen during the investigation into his activities, in order to pay his bills. While he’s remained largely under house arrest since January, the New Zealand high court also ruled he could “go swimming once a week and travel twice a week to an Auckland studio to record music.”
Dotcom was arrested on January 20 and charged, along with four associates, with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering that caused more than $500 million in damages to copyright holders.
It’s unclear from a legal standpoint what President Obama could do for Dotcom, but we do hope the president follows back. And maybe he’ll even lend his vocals to Dotcom’s next track.