25 Jan 2012

No bail for Megaupload founder

9:38 pm on 25 January 2012

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is to appeal against the decision by a New Zealand court to deny him bail while US agencies move to extradite him.

Mr Dotcom, 38, a German national now resident in New Zealand, was arrested in Auckland on Friday, with three colleagues, in an internet piracy case.

They are accused of money laundering, racketeering and copyright piracy by United States agencies, which have shut the file-sharing website Megaupload.

The company was indicted in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, last Thursday.

On Wednesday, Judge David McNaughton turned down a request for bail while the extradition process was underway.

In a written ruling, he says there is a real and significant risk Mr Dotcom will flee the country if released from custody.

He says he is sure Mr Dotcom has the financial resources to get forged identity or travel documents, and to arrange transport out of the country by covert means.

But outside court his lawyer, Paul Davison, said there was no risk his client would leave New Zealand because his assets are frozen and his family are here.

He was to lodge the appeal against the decision with the High Court in Auckland on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mr Dotcom has been remanded in custody until 22 February when a date will be set for an extradition hearing.

The Judge has reserved his decision on whether Mr Dotcom's three co-accused will get bail and is due to make his ruling on their cases on Thursday afternoon.

The judge previously said his decision on Kim Dotcom's bail was likely to influence whether the other men get bail.

More than a dozen of Kim Dotcom's supporters were in court on Wednesday to hear the bail application decision.