Arrested jetsetter Kim Dotcom partied in castle here
KIM Dotcom, the German internet millionaire facing money laundering and racketeering charges in the United States, treated guests to a lavish knees-up and duck hunt at Humewood Castle in Co Wicklow as he toured the world.
The entrepreneur was hauled by police from his sprawling mansion outside Auckland, New Zealand, last week as he celebrated his birthday. His arrest followed an FBI probe.
The founder of Megaupload, an online file sharing service that was one of the world's most popular websites, Mr Dotcom is also known by his birth name, Kim Schmitz.
Photographs have now surfaced that show the gun-toting millionaire proudly displaying his brace of kills following a duck hunt at Humewood Castle in Kiltegan. Mr Dotcom and his entourage visited the exclusive property some time before 2009, with the guests ferried in by helicopter.
The Victorian pile was once owned by socialite German businesswoman Renata Coleman, who acquired the property in the 1990s. She established the duck hunt, and high-profile guests at the estate have included Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and John Travolta. She sold Humewood in 2006 for €25m to Galway developer John Lally. He had planned to invest €250m in the property to transform it into a luxury tourist destination. The loans attached to the estate are now held by NAMA.
Mr Dotcom (38) was arrested by New Zealand police after the FBI in the US charged him and colleagues in one of the largest ever copyright infringement cases. He's now embroiled in extradition proceedings and faces up to 20 years in prison in the US if he's convicted. He has a previous conviction in Germany for insider trading.
The FBI alleges that Mr Dotcom's Megaupload enterprise generated more than $175m (€135m) in "criminal proceeds" and resulted in losses of more than $500m(€384m) to copyright owners such as movie studios.
He has an extravagant lifestyle, and has travelled the world in private jets and helicopters. He was granted residency in New Zealand in 2010 despite declaring two previous convictions. Politicians there have now demanded that the government release paperwork on how that decision was arrived at.
Mr Dotcom paid for a €300,000 New Year's Eve fireworks display over Auckland in 2010 and also donated a large sum to a Canterbury earthquake fund following the disaster there.