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MegaUpload founder to remain on bail

By | Published on Tuesday 2 December 2014

Kim Dotcom

MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom will not have his bail revoked despite efforts by New Zealand prosecutors backed by the US authorities, which are seeking to have the often controversial entrepreneur extradited to America to face charges of money laundering and copyright infringement in relation to his former business.

As previously reported, it emerged last month that prosecutors were moving to have Dotcom’s bail revoked amidst allegations he had breached bail terms and was hiding monies that likely originated from the MegaUpload business, the assets of which were meant to have been seized in 2012.

But Dotcom argued that the US authorities were simply kicking up a fuss now because they knew he’d had to let his main New Zealand legal reps go because he could no longer afford to pay their bills, and therefore there was a better chance of getting him back behind bars, which the Americans had wanted ever since his original arrest. He pointed out that some of the alleged bail term breaches – which he denied anyway – actually occurred back in 2012.

As for all the money Dotcom has been spending, he claims that this mainly stemmed from selling his shares in the two companies he’s established since MegaUpload was shutdown, newer file-transfer set up Mega and direct-to-fan platform Baboom.

Dotcom says his post-MegaUpload business ventures brought in about $40 million, a quarter of which went on legal fees, and about $4.5 million of which has been spent on his not especially successful political endeavours. He also noted that well over a million was spent on developing and releasing his album ‘Good Times’ because “it’s a pricey endeavour to record a music album”, ironically an admission that would be welcomed by the record labels who are currently suing Dotcom over the copyright infringement MegaUpload enabled.

The judge hearing the case, Nevin Dawson, having seemingly rejected the claims of bail term breaches, mused with regards Dotcom’s wealth that – while the Mega founder hadn’t been able to account for all his monies – he’d clearly had access to significant funds at various points since his arrest in 2012 and yet there was no evidence he had ever attempted to flee New Zealand. Indeed he’d spent ten million defending himself through official channels. And he’d made no apparent effort to flee even when he faced losing his bail.

Therefore, said Nevin, it didn’t seem credible to classify Dotcom as a flee risk defendant. Or, in Dotcom’s lawyer’s words, according to Stuff, “he’s had funds available, he’s still here, and there’s no evidence of any intention to flee our jurisdiction”. Dawson seemed to concur.

The judge did keep in place some of the new conditions added to Dotcom’s bail last month, including banning him for travelling privately by helicopter or sea, plus he must report twice weekly to his local police station. But other than that, Dotcom will remain outside jail while he continues to wait for his extradition hearing.

Outside court Dotcom accused the US and New Zealand prosecutors of “harassment and bullying”, adding that their attempts to have his bail revoked had been “misleading and malicious”. He concluded by saying: “I’m now going home to play with my kids”.