Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is at extreme risk of skipping bail, prosecutors argued in a court in New Zealand on Monday.
Prosecutors have argued that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is a flight risk, after he was arrested in New Zealand last week. Screenshot: Greg Sandoval/CNET News
Dotcom and three others — Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and
Bram van der Kolk — were arrested last week as part of an
swoop on file-sharing site Megaupload, its proprietors and their assets. The raid
followed an investigation that lasted over a year.
McNaughton said he is putting off a bail judgement on Dotcom until Wednesday. "Given the breadth of the issues and the seriousness of the issues, I'm going to reserve my decision," he said in Auckland's North Shore District Court, according to ZDNet UK sister site ZDNet Australia.
Prosecution lawyers, who want Dotcom extradited to the US, argued
that Dotcom is "at the extreme end of the scale" when it comes to bail
flight risk, due to his financial resources and multiple identities.
Dotcom acquired his surname by deed poll, having been born in Germany
as Kim Schmitz.
His defence has maintained that his distinctive appearance —
the 37-year-old is 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 130kg — means he will
not be able to pass through customs and immigration unrecognised.
Dotcom's wife is also reportedly about to give birth.
Megaupload was a prominent cyberlocker, allowing people to store
their files online. These services have many legitimate uses, such as
helping people share large files that are too big for email, but their
sharing functionality also makes them attractive to those wishing to
unlawfully share copyrighted content.
In the case of Megaupload, US and other authorities allege the
site did not properly respond to takedown requests from rights holders
and instead deliberately profited off copyright infringement, charging
users to make their uploads easier to share and offering cash rewards
for those who downloaded the most.
Dotcom's bail case has not been helped by the way in which he
resisted arrest. When the police came to his mansion, he
apparently ran into a safe room, closing electronically locked doors
He also had an unlicensed shotgun with him when he was arrested,
although his lawyers claim the registration was the
responsibility of his bodyguard. The prosecution claims it was an
illegal sawn-off shotgun.
According to the
International Business Times, Dotcom assets seized by the FBI
include "bank accounts, PayPal accounts, 15 Mercedes-Benz vehicles, a
Rolls-Royce [Phantom] with the licence plate 'GOD', a rare Lamborghini
and a Maserati". The New
Zealand Herald adds a "pink 1959 Cadillac" to that list.
Megaupload was registered as a Hong Kong company. The Hong Kong
customs authorities said on Friday they have seized
a "large number of digital evidence and over HK$300 million [£25m]
worth of crime proceeds".
"During the investigation, it was found that the hotel rooms rented
by the syndicate for office use and rest area were luxury suite rooms,
which cost HK$100,000-odd per day," the customs officials said in a
statement. "Besides, the room was equipped with a number of
large-scale high-speed servers and large-model TV screens, which are
suspected to be in connection with the case."
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