Megaupload’s Dotcom Seen as Flight Risk
By Chris Bourke and Joe Schneider – Jan 24, 2012 11:22 PM GMT+0000
Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom, accused of the biggest copyright infringement conspiracy in U.S. history, will remain in a New Zealand jail ahead of an extradition hearing after a judge refused his request for bail.
The risk of Dotcom fleeing New Zealand to a jurisdiction such as his home country of Germany, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., was too great to release him, North Shore District Judge David McNaughton wrote in a 20-page ruling released by e-mail today.
Dotcom, 38, is sought in the U.S. where he was indicted on charges his file-sharing website was part of a $175 million copyright infringement conspiracy with pirated film and music files being exchanged. He was arrested at his leased New Zealand mansion on Jan. 20 and the U.S. has 45 days from the arrest date to file a formal extradition request.
“Flight risk remains a real and significant possibility,” McNaughton wrote. “I am sure that he has the financial resources to obtain forged identity or travel documents and to arrange transport out of the country by covert means should he choose to do so.”
Police seized 18 luxury vehicles, including a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and a 1959 pink Cadillac when they raided Dotcom’s house. The cars are valued at NZ$6 million ($4.9 million).
Dotcom legally changed his family name from Schmitz.