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Megaupload: Kim Dotcom’s fellow campaigners plead guilty

Kim Dotcom recently suffered a personal blow of fate as his companion and friend Finn Batato passed away. Now comes the next bad news, because Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk pleaded guilty in the Megaupload case. More than ten years ago, New Zealand and American authorities shut down the file-sharing service Megaupload and arrested the four people primarily responsible for it.

Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato, who recently succumbed to cancer, have fought for years to avoid extradition to the United States, but in the end, only Kim Dotcom wants and will continue this fight. Ortmann and van der Kolk recently agreed to stand trial in New Zealand on the charges of mega uploads, in exchange for avoiding extradition to the United States. Until now, the details of this deal were not known, but now the main point has become known (via TorrentFreak)

Not surprising

This isn’t surprising, though, as those familiar with the case previously suspected the two would plead guilty. They admitted to being members of an organized crime group and collaborating with Kim Dotcom and others to host copyright infringements on Megaupload for financial gain.

Ortmann was the bigger “fish” because he said he owned a 25 percent stake in Megaupload and made about $19 million in profit from Megaupload. For Van der Kolk it was significantly less, he had a 2.5 percent interest, which amounts to about three million dollars. The factual statement reads: “The defendants’ technical knowledge was essential to the formation and growth of Megaupload.

Mr. Dotcom ultimately set the policy and direction, but he lacked the practical expertise to carry out his wishes. He relied on the defendants to build and operate Megaupload’s technical infrastructure, without their involvement the crimes would not have been possible.” Ortmann and van der Kolk have already been convicted on the basis of their confessions.

They remain on bail and the verdict is expected to be announced in October. According to Ortmann, the two finally want to leave Megaupload behind: “We’ve started a new cloud storage company (which means Mega), so there’s absolutely no point in dwelling on this process any longer and we’re leaving it behind.” As expected, Kim Dotcom is not happy about this. He accused the two of stealing from him, and they allegedly created back doors for the Chinese government. The background is current reports that there have been multiple attacks on Mega recently.