Contrary to numerous reports, Swizz Beatz is not the CEO of the recently-shut down Megaupload. Just days after the New York Post "outed" the Hip-Hop producer as the file-sharing site's chief executive, a top lawyer for the company came out with a statement that debunked the report.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Ira Rothken stated that the husband of singer Alicia Keys had no formal role with the company. "To my knowledge, Swizz Beatz was never involved in any meaningful way. He was negotiating to become the CEO, but it was never official," so the lawyer said.
Rothken's statement came after a publicist for Beatz confirmed to The New York Observer's BetaBeat that the musician did hold the position. Before the Department of Justice shut down Megaupload, the company's site also listed Beatz as its CEO. Nevertheless, the 33-year-old was not named in the 72-page federal indictment filed on Thursday, January 19.
Beatz became publicly associated with Megaupload for the first time back in 2011. He reportedly helped create a viral music video for the site that featured cameos from such stars as Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, P. Diddy and Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am. The video caused a legal battle with Universal Music Group.
Megaupload itself was shut down by the Department of Justice on Thursday. Through a press release, the department and the FBI announced that seven of the company's executives, including founder Kim Dotcom, were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Four of them were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand.
Of the indictments, Rothken said, "Megaupload thinks these allegations lack merit and will vigorously defend against these criminal claims. We will be assembling a worldwide team of top-notch lawyers, intellectual property lawyers and tech lawyers to defend this. There's a good chance Megaupload will prevail in this case."
"Under the law, they are supposed to get specific notices for each file accused of infringement," the company's lawyer further stated. "Here, they've decided to bypass their own rules and shut down the entire site. The government has a lot of explaining to do."