Two world-class software engineers have been caught up in the protracted legal fight over the Megaupload case, writes Mega executive chair Stephen Hall
Six years have passed since the infamous dawn raid targeting Kim Dotcom, Megaupload and some of its managers. It set off what Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters rightly called an “unsatisfactory chapter” in New Zealand’s law enforcement history. Since then, countless millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent trying to extradite Dotcom and three of his managers. Two of them are in the office next door to me, still providing tireless support for a new business, named “Mega”, which they co-founded over five years ago and which is now employing dozens of Kiwis to manage what is a genuinely global platform. They want to keep innovating and growing right here, but their fate continues to be extremely uncertain.
I’m not talking about Kim Dotcom, who left Mega in 2013 and claims to be working on a new venture, kept in the public eye by his outsized persona and hunger for the spotlight. I’m referring to Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann, two world-class software engineers who have been caught up in this protracted legal fight with the US Department of Justice. The Megaupload case is uncharted territory, under NZ and US law, but the co-founders of my employer still face the prospect, if extradited, of sentences longer than most drug lords and murderers.