Megaupload Staff Accept Plea Deal in Piracy Lawsuit Leaving Founder in a Precarious Position





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Today, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were sentenced in a New Zealand court, earning themselves over two years in prison for their part in running a pirating website called Megaupload.

They have been fighting for 11 years to avoid extradition to the U.S., where they would be facing additional charges, one of which is racketeering. They were facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison but instead accepted a plea deal to shave off most of their sentences.

Mathias Ortmann has been sentenced to 2 years and 7 months and will be allowed to wait until after the birth of his child to go to prison. Bram van der Kolk received a similar deal, receiving 2 years and 6 months while also delaying the start of his sentence due to his mother’s ill health. Their prison time will begin in August and both men will be eligible for parole after 10 months.

In 2022, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk accepted a deal with New Zealand and U.S. prosecutors to plead guilty to using deceptive practices and scamming numerous artists out of money. They also plead guilty of using Megaupload as a front for a criminal group that allowed users to illegally download films, series, and songs to the tune of $175 million.

Megaupload was shut down in 2012 by the FBI and the founder, Kim Dotcom, was arrested along with other members of the group. Kim Dotcom is still fighting extradition to the U.S. and is anticipating Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk will testify against him as part of their plea deal.

Sources report Kim Dotcom tweeted, “They will serve less than a year instead of the 185 years we were charged with. Good for them.”

Kim Dotcom could still face extradition to the U.S. though New Zealand’s justice minister hasn’t made an official decision yet. The plea deal Mathia Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk accepted is likely to play a big part in what happens to him next, depending on if testifying against him is part of their plea deal.

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