Published: 24 September, 2012, 08:20 Edited: 24 September, 2012, 08:22
New Zealand’s prime minister has ordered an inquiry into “unlawful interception of communications” by the country’s intelligence agency in the case of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
The country’s Prime Minister John Keys expressed his disappointment “that unlawful acts had taken place” and asked the inspector-general of intelligence and security to probe whether the intelligence agency illegally intercepted information while assisting police in investigating the Megaupload case.
“I expect our intelligence agencies to operate always within the law. Their operations depend on public trust,” Keys said. “I look forward to the inspector-general’s inquiry getting to the heart of what took place and what can be done about it.”
The internet tycoon was arrested, along with three others, in January after police raided his New Zealand mansion at the request of the FBI.
He is currently fighting against extradition to the US where he is wanted for what American prosecutors have dubbed as a “Mega Conspiracy.” They have pressed charges of copyright against his file-sharing website Megaupload for generating US$175 million in profit by sharing pirated film, music and book files. If convicted he could face a jail sentence of up to 20 years.
However, Dotcom’s lawyers have argued that the site was merely offering online storage.
Following the announcement by PM Keys, Kim Dotcom wrote in his Twitter account: “I welcome the inquiry by @JohnKeyPM into unlawful acts by the GCSB. Please extend the inquiry to cover the entire Crown Law Mega case.”
“I’m now a real life James Bond villain in a real life political copyright thriller scripted by Hollywood and the White House,” Dotcom tweeted minutes after Key’s announcement.