David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Dotcom allowed back on the net

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom arriving back at North Shore District Court today seeking changes to his bail conditions. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom arriving back at North Shore District Court today seeking changes to his bail conditions. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Megaupload millionaire Kim Dotcom has been granted access to the internet, a swim every day and the chance to finish recording an album.

Dotcom and his three co-accused appeared in North Shore District Court this morning, all seeking variations to their bail conditions.

Dotcom, the founder of file-sharing website Megaupload, was arrested and locked up pending extradition to the United States after a police raid on January 20.

The 38-year-old and his associates, Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Batato, are accused of breaching international copyright laws to the value of US$500 million.

The US alleges that the group used the file-sharing site Megaupload in what US prosecutors allege was a "mega conspiracy''.

They face charges of conspiring to commit racketeering, conspiring to commit money-laundering, copyright infringement and aiding and abetting copyright infringement.

A date for the extradition hearing has been set down in August.

Dotcom won bail after a month-long legal battle but was told he was not allowed online. His fortune has also been seized.

Today, Dotcom's lawyers argued the German-born millionaire needed access to the internet to properly prepare his defence.

He also sought use of the swimming pool at the rented $30 million Coatesville mansion where he and his family were living at the time of the raid and the ability to travel regularly to Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios in Auckland to finish an album he is working on.

Judge David Harvey granted him access to the internet, a 90-minute swim each day and two trips of four hours each a week to the studio.

Crown lawyers, appearing for the US Department of Justice, expressed "a level of scepticism about the success'' of such a recording.

Judge Harvey also indicated there was no real reason why Dotcom and his family could not move back into the rented mansion but did not make a ruling on that.

At present the family lives at a smaller mansion nearby.

Dotcom's associates were granted a meeting once a week with Dotcom in Coatesville.

- NZ Herald

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