Kim Dotcom denied bail in New Zealand
Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload, a file sharing website, has been told by a court in New Zealand that he will not be granted bail. The German national, who also goes by the name Kim Schmitz, is accused of being involved in money laundering and internet piracy. He was arrested on 20 January in Auckland following a request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US.
The US authorities are currently applying for Mr Dotcom’s extradition to the States. The application is due to be heard on 22 February, and until then the accused is to remain in custody, said Judge David McNaughton. He explained that he had made the decision because Mr Dotcom is a significant flight risk.
Judge McNaughton said that he was also concerned about the fact that a firearm was discovered during the raid in which the accused was arrested.
Anne Toohey, for the prosecution, said previously that bail should be denied because Mr Dotcom had previous convictions for insider trading and hacking, and possessed the financial resources and a number of passports which he might use to get out of New Zealand.
Mr Dotcom is currently a resident of both New Zealand and Hong Kong and holds Finnish and German passports. Prosecutors in the US claim that Megaupload, which was recently closed down, had cost copyright holders in excess of $500 million in lost revenue. However, the file sharing site claims that it always responded to complaints made about pirated material.
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