Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has been granted bail in New Zealand, after a judge overturned two previous rulings and concluded that he wasn’t a flight risk.
The US government is seeking Dotcom’s extradition, and had been pushing for him to remain behind bars. It claims the site’s generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds, and caused more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.
Dotcom was prised from a special safe room at his Auckland mansion last month and arrested, with numerous vehicles and computers seized, and bank accounts frozen. He was denied bail at two previous hearings.
But District Court Judge NR Dawson this morning ruled that he wasn’t a flight risk, pointing out that he had a wife and three children with another on the way.
And his finances aren’t quite so mega now, the judge pointed out, commenting that “the US government has not shown since Dotcom’s arrest that he has access to any money”.
He’s no been bailed to a house in the grounds of his mansion – although he’s not allowed to set foot in the house itself. He’s been denied access to the internet – and to helicopters – and must wear an electronic tag on his ankle.
There’s still no date for the extradition hearing, but it’s likely to start this summer and take about three weeks.