By Dan Satherley / NZN
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has been granted bail after a judge ruled he was not enough of a flight risk to keep in custody – but he is not allowed to use the internet.
Dotcom and three other men were arrested at Dotcom's $30 million rented mansion in Coatesville, Auckland, in a police raid on January 20.
They face charges in the US of racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering and are awaiting proceedings to extradite them to the US.
Dotcom has denied any wrongdoing.
The prosecution alleged that as "a wealthy man", Dotcom would have the resources to fund an escape from New Zealand. But District Court Judge Nevin Dawson disagreed, saying Dotcom had "every reason to stay" in New Zealand.
"The disposition that he is wealthy and must have more assets is not evidence," says Judge Dawson.
"It would seem that he has every reason to stay (in New Zealand) to be with his family and to fight to keep his significant assets."
Dotcom has been banned from using the internet or helicopters while on bail.
A date for the extradition hearing was expected to be set in the North Shore District Court today.
Dotcom, who is a German national and holds New Zealand residency, was the only accused who remained in custody in New Zealand following successful bail bids for his co-accused.
Dotcom was previously denied bail by Judge David McNaughton, who considered the internet millionaire a flight risk. Dotcom, who has a family here, said he had no intention of fleeing.
Another man has been arrested in the Netherlands, while two other suspects remain at large.
A new indictment, filed in a US court and released on Friday, adds eight additional charges of copyright infringement and wire fraud against Dotcom, six Megaupload employees and two related companies.
It is alleged the group, labelled by the FBI as the 'Mega Conspiracy', amassed $NZ216 million in criminal proceeds through the website.
3 News / NZN