kim dotcom appeal
kim dotcom appeal, Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom will appeal on Friday against a ruling that kept him behind bars in New Zealand while US officials seek his extradition for alleged copyright piracy, his lawyers said.The German millionaire was refused bail last week when a judge ruled that he posed a serious flight risk because he had the money and shady connections to slip out of the country.
Dotcom was remanded in custody until February 22 but a spokeswoman for his lawyer Paul Davison told AFP on Thursday that an appeal would be heard in Auckland High Court on Friday.
She declined to give further details, although a High Court official confirmed the hearing was scheduled for Friday.
The founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload.com has been in detention since New Zealand police, cooperating with a major US probe, raided his sprawling 'Dotcom Davison argued at his client's original bail hearing that Dotcom, who spent his 38th birthday behind bars, should be released to prepare his defence.
The US Justice Department and FBI allege Megaupload and related sites netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners over $500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.
Davison also said Dotcom was on medication for diabetes and hypertension, adding that there was no danger he would flee because his assets had been frozen and his family remained in Auckland.
Refusing bail, Judge David McNaughton raised concerns that Dotcom had bank accounts and passports in different names and may try to escape to Germany, which does not extradite its citizens to the United States.
He also said an unlicensed, sawn-off shotgun found in a "panic room" to which Dotcom retreated when police swooped on his home raised the possibility that the Internet tycoon had criminal connections who could help him flee.
The raid on Dotcom's home netted a 1959 pink Cadillac, numerous other luxury cars and valuable artworks -- all of which the US Justice Department and FBI allege was obtained through "massive worldwide online piracy".
Authorities in the U.S. allege founder Kim Dotcom facilitated millions of illegal downloads through his company and he is subject to online piracy charges.
Under one of the largest anti-piracy crackdowns ever, the U.S. Department of Justice is seeking to have Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, and three co-workers, extradited to face charges including conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.He said: 'I am relieved to go home to see my family, my three little kids and my pregnant wife
'And I hope you understand that that is all I want to say right now.'
He also confirmed he would be fighting U.S. extradition efforts.Asked how he had been treated by the police after his high-profile arrest, Dotcom added: 'Well, it felt a little bit like an audition to 'American Idol.'
Dotcom was released without any monetary bail bond, which is standard for cases that come before New Zealand's district courts.
He does have other conditions of release, but Ministry of Justice officials declined to release those details.
Megaupload: German born Dotcom was bailed after a judge in an Auckland court ruled that he did not believe he would flee the country
U.S. authorities claim Megaupload cost movie makers and songwriters some half a billion dollars in lost copyright revenue.
They are trying to extradite Dotcom, 38, and three of his colleagues on racketeering charges.
New Zealand authorities have seized millions of dollars in investments and assets owned by Dotcom, including luxury cars and artworks.
North Shore District Court Judge Nevin Dawson found that the German-born Dotcom no longer posed a significant flight risk because, as far as the court was aware, he wasn't hiding any money or assets that could help him flee the country.
New Zealand courts had earlier turned down Dotcom's bail application and a subsequent appeal, saying he did pose a flight risk, but Dawson said those decisions were made when details about Dotcom's assets remained unclear.
'Since that time, all known assets have been seized and are unavailable for Mr. Dotcom's use or disposal,' the judge found.
'No new assets or accounts of any significance have been revealed since his arrest. Mr. Dotcom's submission that he has not concealed any assets or bank accounts has largely been borne out.'
Dawson also said he received an affidavit from Bonnie Lam, the Hong Kong chief financial officer of Megaupload, supporting Dotcom's contention that he has no resources available to him.Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz but legally changed his name. He is a citizen of both Germany and Finland and was granted New Zealand residency in 2010. He has also lived in Hong Kong, where the Megaupload company is registered.
Dawson disputed an earlier court finding that the U.S. doesn't have an extradition treaty with Germany.
The judge said there is a German law which prevents Germans being extradited to any country - but that a treaty between Germany and the U.S. would allow Dotcom to be prosecuted in Germany should he flee New Zealand and should German authorities deem prosecution appropriate.
He said a similar situation applies to Finland.
Dotcom's colleagues had earlier been granted bail by New Zealand courts
Dotcom was present in the courtroom today when judge David McNaughton stated that he posed a “significant” flight risk.
However Dotcom’s lawyer, Paul Davison, QC, said that decision would be appealed to the High Court. Davison spoke of the disappointment at the decision.
“We were hopeful that the judge would accept our intentions and our arguments and see that there was no risk whatsoever of Kim Dotcom seeking to leave New Zealand,” he said. “All of his assets have been frozen, all of his resources have been taken,” he added. “He’s living here with his wife and family, he has no intention whatsoever of endeavouring to leave New Zealand.”
Davidson said Dotcom was “very disappointed” and had instructed him to appeal the decision at the High Court. The appeal would be lodged straight away, he said. Dotcom had “health issues” which were being addressed in prison but there was “nothing adequate at this stage”. He would not specify what Dotcom required in prison.
He also didn’t comment on how Dotcom’s family, including his New Zealand-based wife who was heavily pregnant, and children, had taken the news about him having to remain in custody.
Davison said his “arguments spoke for themselves” and the judge “agreed with much of what we submitted”.
But the judge decided Dotcom was a flight risk.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that he has any criminal connections or associations at all, I don’t know where the judge got that idea,” Davison said.
Outside court, a procession of Ford vehicles awaited to collect Dotcom’s supporters, including a white Ford Territory wagon with ‘boss 260′ imprinted on the bonnet.
The judge reserved a decision on bail for three co-accused in the case until tomorrow afternoon.