​Kim Dotcom to return with Megaupload relaunch

Kim Dotcom has claimed that when Megaupload launches next year it will be 'better than the original'.

Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom is planning a comeback in January 2017, with the relaunch of his file-sharing website Megaupload that was shut down by US authorities five years ago.

Megaupload, founded in 2005, had boasted having more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors. At one point, it was estimated to be the 13th most frequently visited website on the internet.

Dotcom announced his plans to return on Twitter, saying: "Megaupload comes back on January 20th 2017, the 5th anniversary of the raid".

He added that most of the Megaupload users would get their accounts reinstated with premium privileges, and hinted the new website will use bitcoins.

"It will be better than the original and it will feel like home," he wrote.

The German-born entrepreneur along with his three co-accused -- Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batatohas -- were arrested in 2012 by the New Zealand police at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation as a result of his activities and involvement with founding Megaupload, which facilitated the infringement of copyright material online and allegedly earned him around $175 million.

Since the arrest, Dotcom has been entangled in a lengthy legal and political saga.

The New Zealand government apologised to Dotcom in 2012 for illegally spying on him.

A year later, Dotcom launched Mega, an encrypted cloud storage service that attempted to position itself as a privacy-orientated product.

Last May, Mega attempted to execute a reverse takeover to be listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, but failed to gain shareholder approval from the intended shell company, TRS.

Two months later, Dotcom claimed that Mega was in the hands of a Chinese investor who was wanted for fraud in China, and consequently had his shares seized by the New Zealand government, putting the state in effective control of the company.

"As a result of this and a number of other confidential issues, I don't trust Mega anymore," Dotcom said at the time. "I don't think your data is safe on Mega anymore."

In response, Mega said the comments were defamatory, and Dotcom had not been a director at Mega since October 2013.

At the time, Mega said it had 13 percent of its shareholdings subject to two freezing orders. A 6 percent holding controlled by Dotcom's estranged wife was frozen in November 2014 by the New Zealand High Court on application by five Hollywood film studios, and, in a separate matter, a 7 percent shareholding was frozen by the High Court in August 2014.

"Mega is not a party to either of the above court proceedings," it said.

"More than 75 percent of shareholders have supported recent equity issues, so there has not been any 'hostile takeover', contrary to Mr Dotcom's assertion. Those shareholders who have decided not to subscribe to recent issues have been diluted accordingly. That has been their choice."

At the end of last year, a New Zealand District Court ruled that Dotcom and his co-accused were eligible to be extradited to the United States.

The ruling followed a 10-week hearing of copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and wire fraud.

During the trial, Dotcom accused the US law-enforcement agencies for deliberately mistranslating statements he had made in German in order to create a case against him.

While the US authorities declined to provide the original text used by Dotcom, they claimed he stated: "At some point, a judge will be convinced how evil we are, and then we are in trouble".

Following the ruling, Dotcom launched an appeal against it.

With AAP