David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Kim Dotcom avoids jail after bail hearing

Kim Dotcom outside the Auckland District Court. Photo / Getty Images
Kim Dotcom outside the Auckland District Court. Photo / Getty Images

Kim Dotcom has had bail conditions tightened, although the judge who did so said there was no evidence he had breached any of the court-ordered conditions.

Dotcom now has to report twice a week, rather than once, and is banned from travelling on private aircraft or sea-going vessels.

Dotcom lambasted the United States and the Crown lawyers acting for it outside court, saying both seized the opportunity to have his bail revoked after he split from his former gold-plated legal team.

"The court has found I have no breached any of my bail conditions. I have been probably the most compliant, exemplary candidate of bail in NZ and I am surprised, even though I am going home right now, that my bail conditions have been tightened given my excellent bail compliance.

"I think this is another case of harassment and bullying by the United States government in concert with the New Zealand government. I think this whole application was only made because my lawyers decided to resign because of a lack of funds on my part because Hollywood has seized the new family assets that have been made after the raid.

"The Crown and US government have used this opportunity at a weak moment to make up the bogus case for me having breached my bail conditions."

He accused the FBI of being deceitful bringing allegations he had tried to sell a Rolls Royce or been in contact with banned co-accused. He said the evidence showed -- as he claimed was true in other branches of the case -- that the US would not act with openness and honesty.

"I'm now going home to play with my kids."

Judge Nevin Dawson dismissed the arguments put by the US, saying there was "no proof" he had been in contact with former Megaupload staff who are free in Europe but also facing criminal copyright charges.

He said he was not compelled by accusations Dotcom acted with a "lack of candour" by using a driver licence under the name Kim Schmitz in 2009 when stopped for dangerous driving. He said "it appears to be a legitimate use of the name Kim Schmitz".

Other claims also failed to find traction with Judge Dawson, who said he was tightening conditions to take account of the wealth Dotcom had accrued since his arrest and the approaching extradition trial, set for June.

The hearing had been told Dotcom tried to sell assets that were restrained, spent too much time playing video games rather than concentrating on his case and saw the emergence of electronic communications from inside the tycoon's closest networks.

Mr Mansfield, speaking outside court, said "there is no justification" for the tightened conditions.

He said the application appeared to be an effort to get information on Dotcom's financial situation which could have been used in other proceedings.

"Mr Dotcom has made considerable funds through his trust and business ventures whilst here. He hasn't sat on his hands. He was entitled to do that.

"He's certainly made money, that if he wanted, he could flee jurisdiction. He hasn't wanted to, he doesn't want to. He's here and he's determined to defend these proceedings."

He said the US had refused to supply the content of the electronic communications on which many of the allegations were made. He said Dotcom had alleged previous excerpts from communications had been portrayed in a selective way. "From my assessment, in relation to this bail hearing, there's some substance in that."

- NZ Herald

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