Kim DotCom Loses Bail Appeal

Bump and Update: Kim DotCom has lost his appeal for bail. The High Court decided last night. Justice Raynor Asher of the High Court found he was a flight risk, lacked ties to New Zealand and it was possible he had other assets besides those seized by the U.S.

His lawyer reacts here.

He has made a home for himself and his family here in New Zealand...He has absolutely no intention of doing other than remaining here and fighting extradition and the suggestion that he is a risk and that he would take some extraordinary steps to leave New Zealand is a flight of fancy and has no evidential basis so far as my client is concerned.

They are considering their next options which could include an appeal to New Zealand's Supreme Court or a new application for bail. [More...]

Original Post: 2/3/12

Kim DotCom, co-founder of MegaUpload, was in New Zealand's High Court today, for a hearing on his bail appeal.

According to an article by AAP Newsfeed (available on Lexis.com), he testified and was cross-examined. He told the Court fleeing New Zealand was not an option because "There are no funds left anywhere, everything has been seized." He said he had no intention of going to Germany, from which he can't be extradited, because he wants to stay in New Zealand to fight the charges and unfreeze his assets. He said he can't support a wife and five kids in Germany with no money. (He and his wife Mona have three children and she's about to give birth to twins.)

Via the New Zealand Herald article:

"I'm aware that if I go to Germany I would be unable to un-freeze my assets. What I want to do is stay here to fight and get my money back. What would I do in Germany with five kids and a wife with no money? It is not an option for me."

The prosecutor questioned him about someone who had tried to visit him at the jail, who she said had a prior record involving forged documents. Kim DotCom said he never heard of the guy. She asked him if he'd consider accepting forged documents from anyone and he responded, " I would tell them to go to hell, I'm not interested."

Dotcom said the media attention to the case has resulted in "funny" visits, phone calls and letters while he's been in jail. One man called him and told him he was a former prosecutor, and could arrange bail for him -- for a fee. Kim DotCom said he reported the call to authorities.

He also testified that the police punched him in the face when arresting him, and one officer stood on his hand, making it bleed.

From New Zealand's TV3 News, Kim DotCom also testified about his lack of criminal connections and non-deportation from Thailand:

Dotcom also testified to having no criminal connections – aside from those he has made in prison in the previous two weeks, he joked.

He spoke of his alleged deportation from Thailand back to Germany in January 2001, whilst on holiday celebrating his birthday. He says German prosecutors decided to charge him with insider trading, that he left the country voluntarily, never appeared in court and was therefore not deported.

The internet mogul called the suspension of Megaupload without conviction or trial “the biggest disregard of basic rights in internet history”.

The hearing may continue tomorrow. If he loses, he can appeal to the New Zealand Supreme Court.

Two of his co-defendants who were previously granted bail, Finn Batato of Germany, and Bram van der Kolk, from the Netherlands, have still not been released. They were in court today and the police said there was some issue with the electronic monitoring at the places they were going to be residing. They have also been banned from using the internet or mobile devices while on bail.

The fourth co-defendant, Matthias Ortmann, will have his next bail hearing tomorrow. His last hearing was continued when the prosecutor told the court the FBI alleged there was a $2.5 million discrepancy in his income. The FBI said 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. The judge wanted an accounting of the $2.5 million and the hearing continues tomorrow.

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  • Display: Sort:
    no money? (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 09:11:40 PM EST
    Does anyone really believe that an millionaire internet maven who has been arrested before doesn't have money tucked away either in hidden accounts or with friends?

    yes, why don't you read (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 10:54:31 PM EST
    the indictment and see what they seized.

    seized? (none / 0) (#6)
    by diogenes on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 11:31:01 AM EST
    They can only seize what they know exists.  

    Can the judge consider the status.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by EL seattle on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:34:53 AM EST
    ...of the other folks who've been charged in this case when considering whether Dotcom presents a "flight risk"?

    Of the 7 guys charged, two others were arrested very recently, and one still remains at large (as I understand it).

    In other words, is the judge allowed to consider the behavior of Dotcom's business partners as a indication of Dotcom's possible behavior if he's released on bail?  Or is that sort of thing considered irrelevant to the judge's decison concerning Dotcom's bail appeal?

    I think that's irrelevant (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 02:12:18 AM EST
    and two of his codefendants arrested in New Zealand, have been granted bond. One is from Germany which doesn't allow extradition to the U.S. He had just flown in for DotCom's birthday party. The other is from the Netherlands and had only been living in NZ for less than a year. A third co-defendant has his hearing Friday. So only Kim DotCom was living in New Zealand but he's held to be a flight risk while the others weren't. It doesn't make much sense.

    Has the Polanski result re (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 07:36:02 AM EST
    extradtion re extradtion possibly made it more difficult for others in totally  unrelated cases?  Speculation of course.

    please let's not (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 12:37:45 PM EST
    go off topic to Polanski here. And it is off topic in my view.