Finn Batato, one of four New Zealand men who originally faced extradition to the US on charges connected to the file-sharing site Megaupload, has died of cancer. His friend and former boss Kim Dotcom shared the news in a post this morning on his Substack newsletter.
German-born and based Batato, the chief marketing officer for the site, became enmeshed in the decade-long extradition battle after flying to New Zealand for Dotcom’s birthday celebrations at his Coatesville mansion in January 2012. Batato, Dotcom and fellow Megaupload executives Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested on racketeering and money laundering charges following a raid by New Zealand police at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Batato was unable to leave New Zealand, and spent the next nine years in this country fighting the extradition request alongside his co-defendants. In 2021 the US dropped its request to extradite Batato due to his ill health, and in May 2022 the US also dropped extradition proceedings against Ortmann and van der Kolk after the pair agreed to instead face similar charges in a New Zealand court.
Dotcom, the founder and former owner of Megaupload, continues to face extradition proceedings.
“After he was diagnosed with terminal cancer… he was allowed to travel to Germany to spend time with his family and he was able to have dinner with his friends at our favorite restaurant one last time. He was happy when he rang me from Germany. Finn returned to New Zealand recently to try a third chemotherapy but it didn’t work,” Dotcom wrote.
“Finn started a new family in New Zealand. Fortunately he met his soulmate and true love Simone in his final years. They got married recently. He is leaving three young children and his loving wife behind. His youngest son was born just a few months ago. His family travelled from Germany to be with Finn and he passed away peacefully.”
Controversial former NZ First MP Richard Prosser has died suddenly in London.
Prosser was a list MP based in Waimakariri between 2011 and 2017.
Party leader Winston Peters shared the news this morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this sad and challenging time,” he wrote in a tweet.
Prosser had a long history of sharing controversial opinions, and was thrust into the international spotlight in 2013 when he made racist comments about Muslim countries in his regular column for Investigate magazine.
In his column, he called for young Muslim men to be banned from flying on Western airlines and said the rights of New Zealanders were being “denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”. He later apologised for his comments.