Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom claims he was punched, kicked and kneed when New Zealand police raided his Auckland mansion earlier this year, but the officers involved have denied the allegations.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom with his wife Mona. (Reuters)
During a court hearing today, New Zealand police showed dramatic video fottage of the raid on Dotcom's mansion, which included helicopters and 4x4 vehicles.
In January, on the direction of the FBI, New Zealand police officers stormed the mansion of Kim Dotcom, the founder of the Megaupload website.
Dotcom was arrested and charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and criminal copyright infringement. He is accused of making up to $175m from illegally distributing pirated movies, music, books and software files.
In April it emerged that the raid on Dotcom's mansion was illegal after the US judge handling the case revealed it is impossible to serve a foreign company with criminal charges.
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Reported by the New Zealand Herald at the time, US district court Judge Liam O'Grady said: "I frankly don't know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter," after it was revealed that the file-sharing website has never been formally served with criminal papers by the US.
Dotcom is seeking to retrieve PCs, hard drives and other property seized by the authorities at his mansion during teh January raid. In court this week he said the officers who raided his mansion had beaten him, by punching him in the face, kicking and kneeing him.
In court today, two of the officers involved, who were the first to reach Dotcom - who was holed up in a safe room within the mansion - denied beating the defendant, with one saying Dotcom's account of the raid was "incorrect."
One of the officers involved did admit however that one of the team did step on Dotcom's hand by accident.
In a bid to show that the scope of the raid was over-the-top, Dotcom's lawyer Paul Davison cross-examined the two officers about the planning and execution of the raid. It was revealed that two SWAT-like teams in helicopters, four AOS teams in vans as well as four-wheel drive vehicles and one reserve AOS team were involved in the raid.
Dotcom told the court he had cooperated with police in the past and would have opened the door for them, had they knocked.
Working from information provided by the FBI and their own reconnaissance, police were concerned that Dotcom had security staff who might be motivated to resist in order to protect him, the Special Tactics Group officer said.
Dotcom, who spent four weeks in jail before being bailed, is awaiting an extradition hearing which is due to be held in New Zealand in March of next year. Dotcom and his defence team claim they need the hard drives and PCs back in order to build a defence, with the German-born defendant facing 20 years in jail for each racketeering and money-laundering charge on the indictment of found guilty.
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