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Swizz Beatz is not the CEO of Megaupload, the file-sharing website that was shut down by the federal government on January 19, as was previously reported. A source very familiar with Swizz’s situation cleared the air for MTV News late Saturday night, but contends that the multi-platinum producer is still seriously involved with the company, though he wasn’t named in the federal indictment against Megaupload and is no way connected to the crimes of which they are being accused. “He’s not walking away from this,” the source told MTV News.
Before Megaupload was shut down, Swizz Beatz (nee Kasseem Dean) was listed on the company’s “About Us” page as the CEO. The source, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed that while Beatz, husband to R&B star Alicia Keys, was in negotiations to run the company, the ink on the deal wasn’t dry. So why was Swizz’s name listed as CEO on Megaupload’s site?
“They put that up prematurely,” our source said.
On Thursday, the feds shut down the site and arrested several members of the company, hitting them with multiple racketeering and copyright infringement charges. A federal indictment alleges that the site, which allows users to transfer large files, has generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright-holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated movies, albums and other materials. The company’s founder, Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz), was among those arrested. However, the crimes that Megaupload is being accused of all pre-date Swizz’s involvement, MTV News was told.
Swizz, who has produced for DMX, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige, to name a few, became involved with the company over the last several months. Beatz, as well as Kanye West, Diddy, will.i.am and other notable musicians, appeared in a series of video testimonies and even a music video that supported Megaupload’s efforts. According to our source, Swizz and Megaupload were exploring “new ways of getting music to consumers,” and we were told that the producer/rapper is still excited by the possibilities. After the legal matter is resolved, it is still possible that Swizz Beatz will officially join Megaupload as the company’s CEO.