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September 20, 2017

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Mega Ltd. plans New Zealand listing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--Mega Ltd., the Internet file-storage company launched last year by indicted entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, announced plans Tuesday to list on New Zealand's stock market.

Documents filed with the stock exchange put Mega's value at NZ$210 million (US$180 million), although it will be investors who ultimately determine the company's worth once trading begins.

Mega plans to achieve the listing through a maneuver known as a reverse takeover, using a small company that's already listed on the exchange as a vehicle.

The flamboyant Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz in Germany before legally changing his name. He founded the file-sharing site Megaupload, which became wildly popular.

He moved to New Zealand and was living in a rural mansion when dozens of armed law enforcement officers stormed his home in a dramatic 2012 raid, arresting him, shutting down his site, and freezing his bank accounts. He spent a month in jail before being released on bail.

U.S. prosecutors accuse Dotcom of racketeering by facilitating the widespread illegal downloading of songs and movies, and they are trying to extradite him and his colleagues to face trial in the U.S. The extradition hearing has been delayed several times and is now scheduled for July.

Dotcom argues he can't be held responsible for those who chose to use his site for illegitimate purposes.

Dotcom stepped down as a director of his latest venture in August, although wife Mona Dotcom continues to own 26.5 percent of Mega through a trust, according to company records.

Mega offers services similar to Dropbox and Google Drive, saying one point of difference is the high level of security it offers through encryption.

In documents filed with the stock exchange, Mega said it has 7 million users who have stored 860 million encrypted files, and it plans to release new encrypted chat, video-conferencing and email services.

U.S. prosecutors, who have declined to comment on the case, have previously pointed to promises Dotcom made in his bail application that he wouldn't reactivate Megaupload or start a similar site before the extradition case was over.

Dotcom used Twitter Tuesday to comment on the listing plans, writing: "Indicted. Raided. On Bail. All assets frozen without trial. But we don't cry ourselves to sleep. We built #Mega from 0 into a $210m company."

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