NZ court refuses bail for Megaupload founder

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 24, 2012 5:34 PM
NZ court refuses bail for Megaupload founder

AUCKLAND (Reuters) - The founder of online file-sharing website Megaupload, accused of masterminding a scheme that made more than $175 million in a few years by infringing copyrighted content without authorization, was refused bail in a New Zealand court on Wednesday.

The judge remanded Kim Dotcom, a German national, also known as Kim Schmitz, in custody until Feb 22 for a hearing of the extradition application on charges of internet piracy and money laundering.

U.S. authorities want to extradite him on the charges, although his lawyer has said the company simply offered online storage, and that his client is innocent.

He had argued for bail saying that he posed no threat of absconding or restarting his businesses. But the prosecutor said he was a "flight risk at the extreme end of the scale" because it was believed he had access to funds, had multiple identities, and had a history of fleeing criminal charges.

Three other men charged with Dotcom will also be remanded, but their lawyers have said they will contest the decision.

(Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Ed Davies)