Kim Dotcom exits Mega post to follow other pursuits

The Mega empire is now short of its director as Kim Dotcom steps down in order to focus on fighting extradition orders and to work on "other projects."

Kim DotCom
MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom 3News

Kim Dotcom is resigning from data storage provider Mega in order to focus on his extradition case and political aspirations.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the flamboyant director of Mega resigned August 29 and was replaced by Hong Kong-based Bonnie Lam the same day, according to Companies Office filings.

In an e-mailed statement, Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar told the publication that Dotcom -- otherwise known as Kim Schmitz -- resigned "to be able to focus on the extradition case, an upcoming music website, and to build a political party."

Earlier this month, Dotcom told his Twitter following that he planned to follow political aspirations and launch a political party in New Zealand. The 39-year-old plans to contest in next year's elections, campaigning to improve the country's IT infrastructure and push for "fair Internet pricing and no more data caps."

Kim Dotcom later confirmed the resignation on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 11.11.48

Mega was established as a replacement for Megaupload, a file locker that was taken down by US authorities. Federal agencies seized and shut down the file-sharing service at the beginning of 2012, which caused outrage after leaving millions of users stranded without access to their files, some of which were legitimately stored on the service.

Kumar says that the Mega service currently accounts for over 4 million users, a few thousand of whom are paid customers. For now, the CEO is focusing on growing the service through registration, as "growth will be dependent on how quickly Mega can build out its product," according to Kumar.

Mega is built around security and fully encrypted file sharing rather than storing and sharing IP infringing material, Kumar said. To this end, the "privacy company" is developing secure e-mail services to run on its entirely non-U.S.-based server network in order to replace Lavabit, a secure email service which has recently closed down.

The Mega founder is currently battling a case brought forward by US authorities to extradite him. DotCom may have to wait until next year for the hearing, which will decide whether Dotcom will be extradited to the United States, where he is wanted on charges of copyright infringement and money laundering through the Megaupload service.

The original hearing date was scheduled for last August, but complications and confusion around legal arguments have continually delayed the case.

The high-profile case resulted in an overhaul of New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). The agency was found to have unlawfully spied on Dotcom's activities as he had been granted residency. Recently, New Zealand police said that they will not charge anyone in the agency for illegally spying, because there was "a lack of criminal intent."

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Kim Dotcom resigns from Mega to focus on extradition battle, politics."

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About the author

    Charlie Osborne writes for ZDNet, SmartPlanet, and CNET. She is based in London and is a freelance journalist, designer, and photographer.

     

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