Megaupload chief Kim Dotcom will remain behind bars until February at the earliest, after a New Zealand judge denied him bail.
According to ZDNet UK sister site ZDNet Australia, Judge David McNaughton of the North Shore District Court in Auckland agreed with prosecutors that Dotcom, who was arrested as part of an FBI-coordinated international raid, was likely to skip bail if he got it.
"With significant determination and financial resources, flight risk remains a real and significant possibility which I cannot discount and bail is declined," McNaughton said.
Megaupload was a cyberlocker, a site that let people upload and share large files. The subject of an FBI and US Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation that lasted over a year, the business was taken down last week over alleged copyright violations, money laundering and racketeering.
Dotcom and three colleagues were arrested in New Zealand on Friday. The US authorities want the suspects extradited to face trial.
At the time, the FBI and DoJ said three other suspects remained at large, but reports suggest two were arrested in Europe. The Estonian Andrus Nomm was picked up in the Netherlands and the German Sven Echternach was arrested in Germany, which will prove tricky for the US authorities as Germany will not extradite its own citizens.
Meanwhile, an email has emerged that Dotcom apparently sent to his neighbours in 2010. Published in The Guardian on Tuesday, the email was sent after Dotcom's Auckland neighbours became disconcerted by the license plates on his fleet of luxury cars, reading 'Hacker', 'Mafia', 'God' and 'Guilty'.
Police in New Zealand have seized a fleet of luxury cars beloging to Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Image credit: New Zealand Police
The neighbours learned of Dotcom's criminal past — he had indeed been a hacker and served time for insider trading a decade ago — and sent their concerns to the landlord of the mansion Dotcom was staying in.
"As you all know I recently moved into the neighborhood and I am a former hacker. Well I was just hacking into a local mail server and guess what I found," Dotcom said early on in his reply-all email, before joking of the benefits his alleged criminal connections could bring to the neighbourhood.
Dotcom went on to stress that his criminal past was behind him. "Now you can make a choice: 1: Call Interpol, the CIA, and the Queen of England and try to get me on the next plane out of New Zealand. 2: Sit back, relax and give me a chance to do good for New Zealand and possibly the neighbourhood," he added.
One neighbour said that, far from reassuring local residents, Dotcom's email "scared the hell out of everybody".