MegaUpload, one of the largest file-sharing sites on the Internet, has been shut down by federal prosecutors in Virginia. The site’s founder Kim Dotcom and three others were arrested by the police in New Zealand at the request of US authorities. MegaVideo, the streaming site belonging to same company, and a total of 18 domains connected to the Mega company were seized and datacenters in three countries raided. An indictment unsealed today by the Department of Justice claims MegaUpload has caused the entertainment industries more than $500 million in lost revenue and generated $175 million “in criminal proceeds.”
Two corporations – Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited – were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on January 5th, 2012, and charged with “engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.” Today, the authorities executed in excess of 20 search warrants in the United States and eight other countries and seized approximately $50 million in assets. A total of 18 Mega-related domains were seized including Megastuff.co, Megaworld.com, Megaclicks.co, Megastuff.info, Megaclicks.org, Megaworld.mobi, Megastuff.org, Megaclick.us, Mageclick.com, HDmegaporn.com, Megavkdeo.com, Megaupload.com, Megaupload.org, Megarotic.com, Megaclick.com, Megavideo.com, Megavideoclips.com and Megaporn.com.
Data centers in the Netherlands, Canada and Washington were raided. In an apparent reference to the latter, a source has just informed TorrentFreak that the FBI are currently detaining everyone at the ISP Cogent Communications’ headquarters in Washington DC, in connection with a Mega-related search warrant. In addition to MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, another six alleged members of the Mega “conspiracy” were charged in the indictment, including residents of Germany, Slovakia, Turkey, Estonia and Netherlands. Owner Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk were arrested today in Auckland, New Zealand, by authorities there. Bencko, Echternach and Nomm are still at large.
According to the Department of Justice, the individuals named above face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering and five years in prison on each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.