Report: Megaupload founder released on bail


This video grab shows Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, attending the North Shore court in Auckland on Jan. 25, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

A judge in New Zealand has released Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom on bail Wednesday, ruling that the executive had no assets that could help him flee the country.

Dotcom, who ran the file sharing Web site Megaupload has been in custody since Jan. 20, the Associated Press reported, and had been denied bail earlier because the state of his bank accounts and other assets was unclear. Millions of dollars worth of cash, cars and other goods were seized by law enforcement officials following the executive’s arrest.

U.S. authorities are trying to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, having charged him and other Megaupload executives with facilitating illegal downloads of copyrighted material.

In documents released Friday, the Justice Department said that it had added more counts of copyright infringement to its indictment against Dotcom and several of his colleagues. It also provided a glimpse into how prosecutors say the site was being run. A small number of users seemed to be largely responsible for most of the piracy — while 66.6 million users were actively using the site as of Jan. 19, 2012, only 5.86 million had uploaded files to the service, The Washington Post reported.

Investigators claim that Megaupload has made more than $175 million in subscription fees and online ads from the illegally uploaded material.

According to a report from the New Zealand Herald, Dotcom has been granted bail on the grounds that he does not use the Internet or a helicopter. He will be staying at his home in Coatesville, about 20 miles outside of Auckland, and is not to venture more than 50 miles from his home.

Dotcom’s lawyer told the newspaper that the executive is “relieved” to be going home. An extradition hearing has been tentatively set for Aug. 20. the report said.

Related stories:

Megaupload defendants to face more copyright, fraud charges

Megaupload data could be deleted

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

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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