In the “Wild West era of digital media, there is no cowboy quite like Kim Dotcom,” said Austin Carr in FastCompanyâ€‹.com. The former Kim Schmitz, 38, lived a life of wild excess, complete with “yachts, private jets, and Playboy bunnies,” until he was arrested last week at his palatial estate in New Zealand, where he was barricaded in a panic room with a sawed-off shotgun. The U.S. government accuses him of costing the entertainment industry $500 million through pirated movies, music, and games uploaded to his popular file-sharing site, Megauploadâ€‹.com. It isn’t the first time the 6-foot-7, 330-pound multimillionaire has found himself in trouble with the law; he was convicted of hacking, embezzlement, and insider trading in his native Germany. He got off with a suspended sentence, but now the man described as “both tech-savvy and unencumbered by business ethics” could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted.
If Dotcom was trying to hide the tens of millions he’d earned off his legally controversial site, he did a lousy job of it, said Geoffrey A. Fowler in The Wall Street Journal. He owned at least 18 luxury cars, some with license plates that read “HACKER” and “MAFIA.” He “personally funded the city of Auckland’s 2010 New Year’s fireworks celebration.” And he positively reveled in his nickname: Dr. Evil. What’s hacker code for asking for it?