New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key has launched a inquiry into
"unlawful" spying by government agents leading to the arrest of
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the United
States where he faces charges of internet piracy and breaking copyright
The probe may deal another blow to the U.S. case after a New
Zealand court ruled in June that search warrants used in the raid on
Dotcom's home earlier this year, requested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation, were illegal.
Key has asked the government's
Intelligence and Security division to investigate "circumstances of
unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the
Government Communications Security Bureau", his office said in a
statement on Monday.
Key's spokesman would not comment on whether
the "certain individuals" referred to Dotcom, his three colleagues also
arrested and facing U.S. charges, or all of them.
"The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority," Key's statement said.
Zealand authorities arrested Dotcom and his colleagues at his rented
country estate near Auckland in January, confiscating computers and hard
drives, works of art, and cars.
The FBI accuses the flamboyant
Dotcom, a 38-year-old German national also known as Kim Schmitz, of
leading a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and
distributing music, films and other copyrighted content without
"I welcome the inquiry by (Key) into unlawful acts by the GCSB," Dotcom said on his Twitter account.
maintains that the Megaupload site was no more than an online storage
facility, and has accused Hollywood of lobbying the U.S. government to
The raid and evidence seizure has already been ruled
illegal and a court has ruled that Dotcom should be allowed to see the
evidence on which the extradition hearing will be based.
U.S. authorities have appealed against that ruling, and a decision is pending.
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012