MegaUpload founder to remain free on bail

Despite U.S. and New Zealand government lawyers' efforts, Kim DotCom will remain free until his extradition hearing in August.

Kim DotCom, the founder of MegaUpload, is allowed to stay free on bail pending his August extradition hearing on piracy charges. 3News in New Zealand

MegaUpload founder and accused pirate Kim DotCom will remain free on bail until his extradition hearing in August.

A New Zealand court today rejected an appeal by government prosecutors seeking to have DotCom returned to jail as a flight risk, according to media reports out of New Zealand. DotCom, who is charged with operating one of the Web's biggest criminal copyright operations through his file-sharing site, was released on bail last week after a month in custody.

DotCom, 38, was arrested in January at the mansion he leases near Auckland, New Zealand, after the U.S. handed down an indictment on criminal copyright violations and racketeering. Millions of dollars worth of cash, cars, and other possessions belonging to DotCom were seized during a sensational raid on his estate.

At earlier bail hearings, lawyers representing the United States said they suspected that DotCom, who is German, had hidden money that authorities weren't able to find and that he could use this to leave the country. In addition to DotCom, the U.S. government is seeking to bring six others associated with MegaUpload to this country to stand trial.

DotCom, who faces 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges, is confined to his Auckland home and barred from using the Internet.

Meanwhile, DotCom reportedly has asked a New Zealand court to free up some of his seized assets so he and his family have money to live on. He has requested the equivalent of $180,000 a month to cover the costs of bodyguards and other staff.

CNET's Greg Sandoval contributed to this report.

 

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