MegaUpload Co-Defendants Granted Bail
New Zealand Judge David McNaughton, who denied bail yesterday for Kim DotCom, has granted bail to two of his three co-defendants, neither of whom are New Zealand citizens.
Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato will be released on bail. Van der Kolk is from the Netherlands but has been residing in New Zealand since April, 2011. Batato (like Ortmann) is from Germany and just flew in for Kim DotCom's birthday party. Germany does not extradite German nationals to the U.S.
No decision has been reached yet on Mathias Ortmann. [More...]
Van der Kolk and Batato won't actually be released for about a week, while the residences at which they will be staying in NZ pending the extradition outcome are outfitted for electronic monitoring.
Kim DotCom's bodyguard, charged with illegal possession of the firearms at the DotCom mansion, was also granted bail and released today. The prosecution told the judge at Kim DotCom's bail hearing the gun was illegal to purchase in New Zealand without a license and no one at the mansion had a license. The bodyguard disagrees:
"I bought them in Auckland, they are legal and they were bought with a legal licence."
The U.S. is expected to file its request for extradition by Feb. 22, but a hearing on the request could be months away. With appeals, there will probably be no decision for a year or more.
Update: The hold-up for Ortmann is that the FBI has alleged a $2.5 million discrepancy in his income. They say he earned $14.5 million from MegaUpload between 2005 and 2010, and $2.5 million in 2011. But his accounts show $20.5 million income instead of $17.5 million and the Judge wants an accounting of the $2.5 million. His lawyer says it came from trading profits, and has to file an Affidavit. The hearing will continue this afternoon. (It's now been postponed until next week.)
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