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Two MegaUpload associates bailed

By | Published on Thursday 26 January 2012


Two associates of MegaUpload founder Kim Schmitz have been bailed by the New Zealand courts.

As previously reported, four men were arrested in New Zealand last week at the request of the US authorities in connection to their involvement in running the various Mega companies. Top man Schmitz was denied bail on Wednesday amidst fears he might use alleged criminal connections to flee the country if let out of prison, most likely to return to his home country of Germany where it would be much harder for the US to extradite him.

Schmitz’s three associates asked to have their bail applications heard separately, and earlier today two of them were let our of jail, the judge hearing the case saying the flee risk was minimal, and he was confident electronic tagging could mitigate that risk. Letting Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato out of jail, judge David McNaughton said: “I am satisfied that the risk of flight here is minimal and such risk as remains can be met by the imposition of strict bail conditions including electronic monitoring”.

A decision on the fourth man, Mathias Ortman, was postponed until tomorrow, pending further submissions from his legal people. Lawyers speaking for Schmitz’s associates insisted that, unlike the Mega company’s larger than life founder, there was nothing to suggest they had hidden stashes of money or alternative identities they could employ.

The US is now working to extradite all four men back to the States where they are accused of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering. If found guilty, experts reckon they could each face up to 20 years in jail, though some have claimed online that technically their sentences could be anything up to 50 years. Quite how long the extradition process will take is unclear, though it could be a long drawn out process.

In related news, the Dutch police have confirmed that they also arrested a man in connection to the Mega enterprise last week. Prosecutors in New Zealand said earlier this week that two other Mega associates had been arrested in Europe. Dutch authorities confirmed they had taken an Estonian man into custody, with the US naming the accused as Andrus Nomm. The American authorities will now have to try and extradite him too.

But what about poor old Schmitz, still locked up in his New Zealand prison cell without his Mega mates for company? Well, he could always focus his mental energies onto his music. Because yes, while Schmitz may have relied on other people’s musical output to build his multi-million dollar Mega empire, word has it he has his own music ambitions, and has been working with LA-based production company Beets & Produce on an album. His partners on the project are reportedly continuing with the venture as we speak, meaning Schmitz’s musical offerings could be released even while he is in jail, which would be very hip hop.

Perhaps his old mate Swizz Beatz could have a word with Universal Music and see if it’d release the record. After all, the arrest and any future court battle makes for some great publicity for anyone with recordings to sell.