Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Dotcom in custody ahead of bail decision

Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortman and Kim Dotcom (also known as Kim Schmitz) in North Shore District Court. Photo / Greg Bowker
Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortman and Kim Dotcom (also known as Kim Schmitz) in North Shore District Court. Photo / Greg Bowker

Megaupload co-founder Kim Dotcom will find out either tomorrow or Wednesday whether his bail bid has been successful.

Four men, including Dotcom - also known as Kim Schmitz - appeared in North Shore District Court today.

A decision on releasing Dotcom has been reserved, and he's been remanded in custody.

It follows his arrest on Friday by police in an FBI-led raid on the $30 million mansion he lives in with his pregnant wife and three children in Coatesville, north of Auckland.

Arguments have now finished and a decision was expected today on Dotcom's bail, however Judge David McNaughton reserved his decision until tomorrow or possibly Wednesday.

He had been hearing each bail application separately, starting with Dotcom, who has been remanded in custody until the decision is released.

The Crown had opposed bail, saying Dotcom posed an 'extreme' flight risk and risk of reoffending.

However, his lawyer Paul Davison QC said Dotcom was not a risk and was asking for bail, suggesting electronic monitoring would be a sufficient way of containing his client.

This afternoon Mr Davison assured the court Dotcom will not try to restart Megaupload or any other website while he is on bail and the matter is before the courts.

He's also claimed the authorities' description of Megaupload.com is 'misleading' and that there are many misconceptions about the way the site functions.

The Crown today revealed to the court details of a gun found in Dotcom's panic room.

It said the gun was illegal in New Zealand and had been modified.

However Dotcom argued it was purchased legitimately, although his lawyer conceded there had been shortcomings in terms of compliance with that particular weapon.

Dotcom and six others are alleged to be part of a group called the "Mega Conspiracy'', accused of reproducing and distributing infringing copies of copyright works - including movies, television programmes, music, software and books.

Police seized $6 million of luxury cars - including 15 Mercedes-Benz, a pink 1959 Cadillac and a Rolls-Royce Phantom - and $10 million from financial institutions during Friday's raid.

Also arrested were Bram van der Kolk, 29, who is from the Netherlands but is a New Zealand resident, and Finn Batato, 38, and Mathias Ortmann, 40, both from Germany.

The FBI is seeking to extradite them to the United States to face charges of conspiring to commit racketeering, conspiring to commit money laundering, copyright infringement and aiding and abetting copyright infringement.

The website was shut down by the FBI, sparking a furious reaction from hackers who retaliated against a number of US government, recording and movie industry sites.


- NZ Herald

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