Kim Dotcom, the millionaire founder of the closed file-sharing website Megaupload, has been granted bail in New Zealand, according to The New Zealand Herald.
A judge decided that Dotcom, an alias for Kim Schmitz, 38, was not a flight risk even though Crown prosecutors had pointed to his wealth, possession of three passports and to the fact the he is wanted on serious charges in another country.
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In a new indictment unveiled on Friday, a Washington grand jury added charges of wire fraud and copyright infringement against Dotcom and six others behind the website. Four suspects are facing deportation to the US.
A New Zealand court had initially denied bail to Dotcom on Feb 3. It was the request of US authorities that New Zealand police raided Dotcom’s $30 million “Dotcom Mansion.” Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Batato and Dotcom also face conspiracy charges for alleged racketeering and money laundering.
According to The Herald, Judge Nevin Dawson found that the seizure of Dotcom’s assets meant he was no longer a flight risk.
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"The disposition that he is wealthy and must have more assets is not evidence,” Dawson was quoted as saying in his ruling. "It would seem that he has every reason to stay (in New Zealand) to be with his family and to fight to keep his significant assets.”
According to The Herald, the conditions of Dotcom’s bail require that he not use the Internet, not travel more than 50 miles from his rented mansion in Coatesville and refrain from using his helicopter.
CNET reported that federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia say they have yet to file extradition papers for Dotcom but have until March 2 to do this.