MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom has been denied bail by a New Zealand court, over concerns that the ostentatious exec could flee the company – and extradition to the US – using fake documentation. Dotcom, who was arrested last week as part of a huge raid on the file-sharing site, was described as a “real flight risk” by the court, the New Zealand Herald reports, with prosecutors claiming there was also a strong possibility that he could attempt to restart MegaUpload if released even temporarily.
The concern, Judge McNaughton expressed, was that Dotcom might flee the country and set up in Germany, which does not have an extradition agreement with the United States. However, Dotcom’s lawyers argued that not only did their client have no intention of leaving, he also lacks the means: the majority of his assets have been frozen as part of the raid.
“He denies the existence of any mega conspiracy” they said in a statement outside the court, “or that he was involved in any criminal enterprise relating to infringing copyrighted works” before filing an appeal at the High Court. However, they conceded that Dotcom still has access to one bank account containing around NZ$300,000 ($242,000) and has a track record of holding multiple passports, at least two of which were seized by police.
In the end, it may be the sheer scale of the MegaUpload case that saw Dotcom left in jail until the extradition hearing set for February 22. The suit is set to be “the biggest case of its kind ever prosecuted in the United States” Judge McNaughton pointed out, with – especially in the aftermath of the SOPA and PIPA collapses – significant implications for how online piracy and file-sharing are handled in future.