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Mega man bailed

By | Published on Thursday 9 February 2012


The head programmer of MegaUpload was finally let out of jail yesterday, having been arrested alongside three other Mega execs in New Zealand last month.

While Mega founder Kim Schmitz has now been denied bail twice amid fears he might flee back to Germany, where it would be much harder for the US to extradite him, two of his colleagues were granted bail almost straight away, though it turns out they weren’t actually released from jail immediately because of various administrative matters.

Programmer Bram van der Kolk was freed yesterday, and will now stay in an Auckland residence with his wife, subject to certain restrictions. In particular no one in his household must be connected to the internet, with concerns the accused might endeavour to put some of Mega’s services back online, possibly under a different name.

The programmer’s lawyer called the no-net term “unreasonable”, and said the suggestion that his client could single-handedly relaunch a Mega-style file-sharing website from his home while under the constant watch of the FBI was “frankly ridiculous”. But Judge Pippa Sinclair complied with the prosecution’s request in ordering Van der Kolk be kept offline.

The other Mega exec given bail shortly after his arrest last month, Finn Batato, is still in jail today, though should be freed any day now. He is planning on staying with Schmitz’s pregnant wife while on bail, but she was unable to attend court to sign various papers because she had a doctor’s appointment. Once the paperwork is done, though, he should be let out of prison.

The fourth arrested exec, Mathias Ortman, is still to have his bail hearing for some reason.

At the latest Mega court hearings prosecutors also revealed that only one other man had been arrested in Europe in relation to the Mega empire (earlier reports had said two), which means two of the seven people wanted in connection with Mega’s alleged crimes are still at large. One of those two men, prosecutors said, had returned to his home country Germany where he would likely now avoid extradition, which is, of course, what US authorities claim Schmitz would do if let out of jail.