March 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM ET
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom says not all of the file-sharing site's users were what some might imagine them to be: Crooks sitting in dark rooms, selling pirated movies, TV shows and music.
In fact, Dotcom contends, "a large number" of customers are from the U.S. government -- the very same folks prosecuting him in what may be one of the biggest copyright cases in history.
In an interview with website TorrentFreak, Dotcom said, who says the case against him is politically motivated, said: “Guess what – we found a large number of Mega accounts from U.S. government officials including the Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate.”
Dotcom, 28, and others who ran the site have been charged by U.S. authorities with facilitating millions of illegal downloads via Megaupload. The charges were filed in federal court in Virginia, where some of Megaupload's servers are located; the site itself is based in Hong Kong.
Dotcom, arrested in New Zealand, and in custody since Jan. 20, was freed on bail Feb. 22. The U.S. is trying to extradite him. In the meantime, users of the site -- including some with legitimate content such as photos and personal documents -- have been trying to get their files back.
Megaupload’s legal team is "negotiating with the Department of Justice to allow all Mega users to retrieve their data,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak. Even if some of those users are from the DOJ itself, he said.
“I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files,” Dotcom told us.