Estonian charged in Megaupload case arrested in US
Andrus Nõmm, an Estonian programmer who allegedly headed the software development team behind Megaupload.com, has been arrested in the US, where he will be prosecuted for running a massive copyright piracy scheme.
Nõmm, who is in his mid-thirties, was arrested in Alexandria, Virginia, on Monday. He was initially detained in the Netherlands in 2012, along with a German citizen. The group's leader, Kim Dotcom, was arrested in New Zealand at the same time, and has been fighting extradition ever since.
According to the prosecution, Nõmm was paid 100,000 dollars for his services. He is being charged with piracy and money laundering.
The New Zealand Herald writes that Nõmm's arrest in the US was unexpected - he should have been waiting for an extradition hearing in the Netherlands instead - and Dotcom's lawyer suspects he might be cutting some sort of a deal with the American authorities, perhaps to testify against Dotcom. The latter's extradition hearing should take place in New Zealand later this month.
The Megaupload bust was one of the largest anti-piracy actions in US history. It is believed that the site was at one point among the 15 most visited websites on the Internet. It boasted 150 million registered users before it was shut down in early 2012.