The Seth Rich murder mystery has been a hot topic on the internet recently, and last week Kim Dotcom dove into the story when he claimed that he knew Seth Rich, and had evidence that he was the source of the leaks that WikiLeaks had produced regarding the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Since then a number of YouTube channels have cited Dotcom’s claims as evidence of a political hit on Rich, and have described Dotcom as “credible”, “a world renowned figure”, or “respected internet entrepreneur”.
Since most people have never heard of Kim Dotcom, they just assume that these descriptions are accurate and enthusiastically welcome him into the conspiracy theory camp. But I’ve known a bit about this guy for a while, and I thought it might be good to educate people on who and what he is, and offer a bit of his background for context.
I first learned about Dotcom nearly twenty years ago when I was working in IT operations. I was beginning to learn how to build websites and experimenting with Flash videos in the late 1990s when I came across a video of Special Agent Kimble infiltrating Microsoft’s headquarters and firing a machine gun into the wall of Bill Gates’ office to spell out the word LINUX.
It was the first cartoon I recall seeing in Flash. I wanted to know who “Kimble” was, and a little research revealed that his name was Kim Schmitz, a hacker and cyber security “expert” from Germany who had used the name Kimble for his online shenanigans.
It turns out he wasn’t that much of a genius with programming, but he knew enough to make life miserable for a few organizations and make a ton of money for himself. As a teenager he lived a double life as a security specialist offline and as Kimble online. Eventually people connected the dots and realized that this security expert was a notorious hacker and his security business failed.
In 1994 he was arrested for charges related to hacking and stolen phone calling card numbers. Four years later he was convicted on 21 counts of computer fraud and hacking. Just twenty years old at the time, he only got a two-year suspended sentence, but Schmitz used the notoriety he gained in the media to resurrect his efforts in cyber-security.
This was in the earlier days of the field, and companies knew very little about the subject and would pay enormous fees to anybody who could offer any assurance of finding and fixing security breaches in their operations. Often these “breaches” were nothing more than somebody leaving their password on a sticky note on their computer monitor, and these “experts” would charge five figures a month to basically walk through the workplace during lunchtime and spot the passwords. Nice work if you can get it, huh?
Soon Schmitz was living large and engaging in shameless self-promotions like the Flash animation. In 2001 he spent €375,000 for stock in the failing website LetsBuyIt.com and announced his intent to invest 50 million Euros to turn the company around. That news drove the price of the stock up, but instead of following through on his word he sold off his position and pocketed a cool €1.5 million in profits.
When it became clear that he was going to face insider trading charges over the pump and dump, Schmitz fled to Thailand in 2002. The Thai authorities didn’t offer him much help however, as they deported him to Germany where he got a slap on the wrist and paid a €100,000 fine.
Schmitz then relocated to Hong Kong where he set out to build “Kimpire”, a financial empire based on a number of moneymaking technology-oriented schemes. After encountering roadblocks and eventually being convicted of securities violations in Hong Kong, he then moved again to New Zealand where his Kimpire became a reality through a file sharing company called MegaUpload which reportedly made him hundreds of millions of dollars.
In 2005 he had his legal name changed to Kim Dotcom and over the past twelve years he has been involved in an ongoing battle with governments and regulatory agencies. In 2012 his compound in New Zealand was raided and he was arrested. He was released from jail a month later, and ever since he has been fighting extradition to the US to face racketeering charges.
It would appear that his offer to testify in the Seth Rich case is nothing more than an effort to gain immunity on those charges and/or avoid extradition. While I can’t say definitively that Kim Dotcom doesn’t have any evidence to offer or any knowledge regarding Seth Rich’s murder, his history would suggest that he has little to no credibility, and that this is yet another in a long series of publicity seeking stunts from a sociopathic hacker/scammer/racketeer.
In summary, Kim Dotcom is not credible or respected. He’s a hacker. He’s a convicted criminal. He’s a punk. He might be a rich punk, but he’s still a punk. Those who hitch their wagons to his are jeopardizing their own credibility.