MegaUpload founder denied bail in New Zealand

Kim Dotcom deemed flight risk prior to extradition hearing, as Dutch police arrest fifth suspect in online piracy probe.

    Kim Dotcom's lawyer Paul Davison said his client would appeal the bail decision [Nigel Marple/Reuters] 

    A New Zealand judge has denied bail to Kim Dotcom, the founder of file-sharing website MegaUpload.com, as a government official in the US confirmed the arrest of a fifth suspect in connection to the case.

    David McNaughton, the judge, said Dotcom, a German national who is accused of copyright infringement, posed a serious flight risk before a hearing scheduled for February 22 at which he faces possible extradition to the US.

    "With sufficient determination and financial resources, flight risk remains a real and serious possibility which I cannot discount and bail is declined," McNaughton said at the hearing in Auckland on Wednesday.

    Dotcom's lawyer, Paul Davison, said his client would appeal the bail decision as soon as possible.

    "All of his assets have been frozen, all of his resources have been taken, seized. He's living here with his wife and family. He has no intention whatsoever of endeavouring to leave New Zealand," Davison told reporters.

    Working with US authorities, police in New Zealand arrested Dotcom and three other men from his Auckland mansion last week and seized luxury vehicles worth US$4.8 million.

    In Washington, a US Justice Department official told The Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity that Dutch police had arrested Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and Turkey.

    US authorities have indicted seven men in the case, two of whom remain at large, which the US Justice Department and FBI said were "responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through MegaUpload.com and other related sites".

    The indictment accuses the men of generating more than US$75 million in proceeds at a cost of more than US$500 million to copyright owners by offering pirated copies of movies, TV programmes and other content.

    US authorities are seeking the extradition of the four men in New Zealand and are also expected to seek Nomm's extradition.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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