Megaupload founder denied bail


An entrance to Megaupload's office at a hotel in Hong Kong is seen in this Hong Kong government handout photo released late January 20, 2012. The Hong Kong government said on Friday over HK$300 million ($38.4 million) worth of proceeds from Megaupload were seized in the country in joint operations by Hong Kong customs and U.S. authorities. The U.S. government shut down the Megaupload.com content sharing website, charging its founders and several employees with massive copyright infringement, the latest skirmish in a high-profile battle against piracy of movies and music. (HANDOUT/REUTERS)
January 25, 2012

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was denied bail Wednesday by a New Zealand judge who determined that the file-sharing site executive poses a flight risk, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking to extradite Dotcom after shutting down his file-sharing site and charging him and six other executives with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering and criminal copyright infringement.

Following the Justice Department’s announcement of the charges against Dotcom and his fellow executive last week, details about their lavish lifestyles emerged in official filings on the case. More than 20 vehicles, including 15 Mercedes-Benzes, a Lamborghini and a Rolls-Royce Phantom with the license plate “God,” were seized. Other vanity plates on the luxury cars read “Stoned,” “Mafia,” “Hacker” and “Guilty.”

When law enforcement entered Dotcom’s home, they also seized three wallets containing ten or more credit cards each, and two of Dotcom’s four passports from a bedside table, the Herald reported.

Judge David McNaughton said that he believed Dotcom, who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz and also goes by the alias Kim Tim Jim Vestor, could flee New Zealand because he had access to forged travel documents, the report said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Dotcom’s attorney Peter Davidson said, “We were hopeful that the judge would accept our contentions and arguments and see there was no risk whatsoever of Kim Dotcom seeking to leave New Zealand. 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.”

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Federal indictment claims popular Web site Megaupload.com shared pirated material

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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