Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Granted Bail By New Zealand Court
Dotcom to be placed under house arrest as fight against US extradition continues
Kim Dotcom, the German founder of Megaupload, has been released from prison following his second bail appeal at a New Zealand court.
Megaupload’s operators were arrested on 20 January as US federal prosecutors shut down the file-sharing site and seized various assets claiming the site was guilty of copyright infringement.
Dotcom’s release follows a failed initial plea for bail and an unsuccessful appeal. In the latter, Judge David McNaughton claimed the alleged pirate ringleader was a “flight risk” due to his numerous bank accounts, aliases and possession of a firearm. On Wednesday, Judge Nevin Dawson overturned the decision, citing that prosecutors had seized all funds Dotcom could have used to flee the country.
“I am relieved to go home to see my family, my three little kids and my pregnant wife,” he said to Reuters.
The conditions for bail imposed by the court rule that Dotcom must wear an electronic tag and live in a small house near his seized mansion near Auckland. Additionally, helicopters have been banned from landing at the property and Dotcom is not permitted internet access in case he resurrects the Megaupload site. TorrentFreak reports that his US-based team have tried to fight the internet restriction.
“It’s like saying he shouldn’t have access to a telephone, it’s such a fundamental means of communication,” said Paul Davison, one of Dotcom’s lawyers.
The case for US extradition against Dotcom and three of his recently-bailed colleagues is expected to be heard in August. Prosecutors allege that Megaupload’s owners and operators are guilty of copyright piracy, money-laundering and racketeering.