Megaupload founder released on bail

February 23rd, 2012

Kim Dotcom, wanted in US on copyright piracy charges, placed under effective house arrest pending extradition hearing – Published on Al Jazeera, February 22, 2012.

… Dotcom obtained bail on his second attempt, after the judge said a review of the facts and Dotcom’s circumstances showed he was less of a risk of fleeing than before.

Bail conditions:   

  • His three co-accused were also bailed until the August hearing of the US extradition request.
  • A US justice department spokeswoman declined immediate comment on the bail ruling.
  • “I’m relieved to go home and see my three little kids and my pregnant wife,” Dotcom, 38, said after the ruling.
  • He vowed to fight the eventual extradition hearing on US charges of copyright piracy, racketeering and money-laundering.
  • Under the bail conditions, Dotcom, who kept a private helicopter as part of his lavish lifestyle, must live in a small house near the mansion he had rented and wear an electronic tag.
  • He will be restricted in how far he can travel. The judge also banned helicopters from flying to or landing on the property.
  • Last week, a US grand jury added more charges against Megaupload.com and its executives.

Copyrighted content:

  • US authorities claim Megaupload.com cost filmmakers and songwriters up to half a billion dollars in lost copyright revenue by distributing copyrighted content without authorisation.
  • His lawyers say the company simply offered online storage and that he strenuously denies the US charges.
  • Dotcom was arrested along with his aides last month after dozens of armed police raided his country estate at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • He is a citizen of both Germany and Finland and was granted New Zealand residency in 2010. He has also lived in Hong Kong, where the Megaupload.com company is registered.

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