Kim Dotcom's Wacky Antics Through the Years

The new leader of a political party, Dotcom is no stranger to controversy.

He's gone by many names, but most people know him as Kim Dotcom, the eccentric billionaire at the center of a massive legal battle over illegal file-sharing that transpired on his now-defunct website Megaupload. He makes headlines regularly these days, but that's nothing new to him. Kim Dotcom has been a magnet for media attention since he was a teenager in the early 1990s.

Not-so-humble beginnings

As a teenager, when he was still known by his birth name Kim Schmitz, he used the pseudonym Kimble to make claims online that he had breached the security at NASA, the Pentagon, and Citibank. Later, he would boast that he was hacking into corporate PBX systems and selling access codes, declaring "every PBX is an open door to me," according to a Socially Engineered profile of Schmitz. German police arrested him in 1994, and he was later convicted of 11 counts of computer fraud charges and 10 counts of data espionage. However, being a 20-year-old in the German justice system, he was still considered a minor, and received just a suspended two-year sentence.

The party yacht for the Formula One Grand Prix

An early profile of Schmitz in The Guardian reported that in May 2000 he spent $1 million to charter a 240-foot yacht for the week of the Formula One Grand Prix in Monaco. He reportedly docked the yacht for the week and held high-profile parties that attracted celebrities, including Prince Rainier III of Monaco.

Credit: REUTERS/Nigel Marple
The LetsBuyIt.com investment

In 2001, Schmitz left hacking behind with an investment in the struggling ecommerce site LetsBuyIt.com. He went on to hold interviews with the press promising that he would help guide the company to profits. Once this manufactured confidence in the company drove up the value of the shares, Schmitz sold his recently acquired shares for a profit of $1.5 million.

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The embezzlement case that spanned the globe

The fiasco with LetsBuyIt.com would bring insider trading charges against Schmitz in 2002, and he reacted in epic fashion. He fled to Thailand, threatened to kill himself in a post on his website, and declared that "the real Kim Schmitz is no more," demanding to instead be called "His Royal Highness King Kimble the First, Ruler of the Kimpire." This didn't prevent him from being deported back to Germany, where he pled guilty to the embezzlement charges against him and spent five months in jail awaiting trial, before walking free on another suspended sentence.

Attempt to harangue a Russian submarine

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Schimtz tried in 2002 to procure a nuclear-powered Russian Navy icebreaker ship so he and his friends could take a cruise to the North Pole, as well as an "igloo village for icebound partying and dog races." He was reportedly denied access to the ship on account of his "business irregularities."

The high-speed road races

Schmitz participated in the Gumball 3000 road rally, a 3,000-mile event that uses primarily public roads and spans several countries, in both 2001 and 2004. Although the organizers discourage participants from treating it as a competitive race, Schmitz did exactly that. A Vanity Fair profile of the 2004 rally claims his car was clocked traveling at 155 miles per hour on public roads. When police tried to stop him, he refused and eventually evaded them. "I decided to get here first and nothing would stop me," he told Vanity Fair.

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Sweet-talking the New Zealand government

For New Year's Eve 2011, Schmitz, by then officially known as Kim Dotcom, commissioned a $500,000 fireworks show in the city of Auckland. But in September he was rejected when trying to purchase a $30 million home in Auckland, which was New Zealand’s most expensive home at the time, on account of his "character," reports claimed. With Dotcom renting the property instead, his application for residency was approved, but only after he had invested $8 million in New Zealand government bonds and donated to the Christchurch earthquake fund, according to FastCompany.

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Raid on Dotcom’s New Zealand home

That same home would be raided in January 2012 by law enforcement agents from New Zealand and the U.S., in what would culminate in the closure of Dotcom's file-sharing site, Megaupload. When authorities found Dotcom, he was hiding in a safe room hidden behind a false wall in a closet, with a shotgun nearby. Video and explanation of the raid can be seen in the 60 Minutes video to the left.

Credit: REUTERS/Nigel Marple
Lavish property seized

The raid provided an interesting glimpse into the lavish life Dotcom lived. According to the Wall Street Journal, police seized "at least 18 luxury cars—including a 1959 pink Cadillac and three cars with vanity license plates that read "HACKER," "MAFIA," and "STONED."

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Arrest costs Dotcom world’s No. 1 rank in video game

Prior to the arrest, Dotcom held the No. 1 worldwide rank out of about 15 million people who played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, then the world's most popular video game. Shortly after the arrest, he slipped to the No. 2 rank, VentureBeat reported. That had to sting for Dotcom, who had earlier recorded video of the moment when he assumed the top rank and posted it to YouTube. Somehow, the video has almost 2.4 million views.

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Releasing a rap video

In July 2012, while he was amid a legal battle with the U.S. government, Kim Dotcom released a rap video called "Mr. President," which, you guessed it, criticized President Obama for the charges against him.

Credit: REUTERS/Nigel Marple
Re-enacting the raid one year later

On the one-year anniversary of the raid, Dotcom held a party where he re-enacted the raid from one year earlier, only with fake guns and models adorned in military-themed costumes. Dotcom used the opportunity to announce his new company, Mega. It would be another file-sharing and hosting site, only with more of a focus on encryption of the files it hosted.

Credit: REUTERS/Nigel Marple
Claiming patent ownership for two-factor authentication

In May 2013, Dotcom took to Twitter to allege that any company looking to incorporate two-factor authentication would be in violation of a 1998 patent he held. Threatening to sue tech giants like Google or Facebook if they violated it, Dotcom asked that they instead help him take down the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Without their help, Dotcom also threatened to sell the patent to anyone who would be more willing to troll these companies than him.

Credit: REUTERS/Mark Coote
Kim Dotcom forms a political party in New Zealand

Just this week, Dotcom announced he is formally launching a political party in New Zealand. The political party will be called Megaparty, but Dotcom claims that he will not run for office personally. Some officials are already concerned that the Megaparty could have an impact on the electorate. In typical Dotcom fashion, the party will be launched on January 20, exactly two years after U.S. and New Zealand law enforcement raided his home and shutdown Megaupload, and one year after the announcement of Mega.