Kim DotCom Released on Bail in New Zealand

Megaupload founder Kim DotCom has been released on bail in New Zealand. (Post-release interview here.) He left jail in a waiting Toyota.

Judge Nevin Dawson said at the North Shore District Court that officials had investigated Dotcom's potential access to funds and "none of significance" had been found. Judge Dawson said it was "highly unlikely" that he had other financial resources available to him that had not already been seized.

The prosecution's argument: He's rich, he must have money somewhere. The Judge disagreed: [More...]

Prosecution acting for the United States Government had said that because Dotcom was "very wealthy" it was probable he had more bank accounts.

However, Judge Dawson said this put Dotcom in the position of having to "prove a negative" and that assertion was not enough to imply his flight risk...."The suspicion that Mr Dotcom is very wealthy is not evidence of further assets and cannot be used against him."

Bail conditions:

Judge Dawson granted bail to his Coatesville house with the conditions that he did not have access the internet, no helicopter be allowed to travel to the property, that he would not travel more than 80km from the property and that he give police 24 hours notice of any appointment that required him to leave the property, except for medical emergencies.

(I assume the Coatesville house is not the mansion, but the house near it Dotcom bought in December. According to NZ news reports, the lease on the mansion terminated for non-payment of rent.)

This was the right decision. Now all four defendants can work with their lawyers, in the privacy of their law offices rather than a jail visiting room, and prepare a defense to the extradition charges. The pressure of prolonged pre-trial detention creates a desire to "just get it over with." Now the parties are on a much more level playing field.

The Crown, undoubtedly at the request of the FBI, is considering an appeal. Hasn't there already been enough of this "mutual assistance" puppetry? The Crown should focus on the real issue: Are the Megaupload defendants subject to extradition to the U.S.

The extradition hearing will most likely begin around August 20. A date will be set March 15.

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    What Does it Matter... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 10:30:15 AM EST
    ...if he has access to money ?  Certainly if he doesn't have it, he knows people who do.  And seems like a person with his skills might know how to have a rainy day fund somewhere.

    They are saying he will run if he has the financially means to.  That seems silly, unless he finds a cave, there is noway he could hide.  I think he mentioned this, he's like 6'6" around 300 lbs, he's not going to blend anywhere, and his mug has been plastered everywhere.  
    "OBL and the Hussein family we find, but kim.com will allude us..."

    Plus this case is a joke, I would think any funds he can get his mitts on will go straight to fighting extradition.  Why run, if we can't extradite him, there is no case.