News: Megaupload Founder Finally Gets Signed Off, Released On Bail

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 11:39PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

After weeks of being held in custody overseas on copyright infringement charges, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has reportedly been released on bail this week.

According to reports, Dotcom was released after a New Zealand judge made sure he did not have enough finances to leave the country.

The founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload was granted bail and released on Wednesday after a New Zealand judge determined that authorities have seized any funds he might have used to flee the country. Kim Dotcom, who U.S. authorities allege facilitated millions of illegal downloads through his company, has been in custody since his arrest Jan. 20. Magila Annandale, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice, said the ministry was seeking details on the conditions of Dotcom's release. District courts in New Zealand typically don't require a monetary bond when granting bail. (Fox News)

His most recent bail request was denied in late January.

On Wednesday, the presiding judge, Judge David McNaughton, denied Dotcom's bail requests on the grounds that he presented a flight risk. "With significant determination and financial resources, flight risk remains a real and significant possibility which I cannot discount and bail is declined," wrote McNaughton in a 20-page statement. It also seems that Dotcom is no stranger to criminal activity, to which he even joked about in newly-revealed e-mails to his neighbors. "I am a former hacker" who was once convicted of insider trading," he wrote. "In all seriousness: My wife, two kids and myself love New Zealand and 'We come in peace." He then went on to jokingly offer to help neighbors with insider stock tips and tax fraud. Thus far, the U.S. has charged seven men, including Dotcom, in the conspiracy case and are seeking extradition for four of which, who were arrested in New Zealand. (VIBE)

Earlier the same week, Dotcom appeared in court hoping to be granted bail.

Kim Dotcom will remain in custody at least temporarily after a New Zealand judge delayed a decision on whether the founder of the file-sharing site should be permitted to be released on bail. At a hearing Monday in Auckland, New Zealand, Dotcom denied that he is guilty of the Internet piracy charges he is facing in the United States. The New Zealand Herald reports that Dotcom's attorney, Paul Davidson, argued that his client should be eligible for bail because "he is not a person who is inherently motivated to disappear or breach conditions. There is no flight risk." (Washington Post)

Despite his attorney's plea, Dotcom was forced to remain in custody.

Judge David McNaughton said the bail application was too complicated for an immediate ruling, adding he would issue a written decision no later than Wednesday. "Given the breadth of issues covered in this bail application and the seriousness of the issues, I am going to reserve my decision," the judge said. U.S. authorities want to extradite Dotcom on charges he masterminded a scheme that made more than $175 million in a few short years by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Megaupload's lawyer has said the company simply offered online storage. (Reuters)

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