AUCKLAND, New Zealand—A New Zealand judge has determined that the amount of assets seized since his arrest combined with the likelihood that he wants to stay close to his family have made Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom less of a flight risk, and has ordered him released from jail on bail, with restrictions.
U.S. authorities took control of Megaupload sites and indicted Dotcom and six of his employees on January 19 for operating an “international organized criminal enterprise." Dotcom and three others were arrested at his Aukland home that same day, and he has been in jail ever since.
That changed today with the ruling by North Shore District Court Judge Nevin Dawson, who said, "The disposition that he is wealthy and must have more assets is not evidence. 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."
Millions of dollars of assets belonging to Dotcom were seized at the time of his arrest, and a month later another seizure netted millions more, including a $4.3 million "second" mansion.
Despite those seizures and the assertion made by prosecutors that Dotcom remains a flight risk, the judge granted bail on the following conditions:
He does not use the internet.
He resides at his Coatesville property and does not use a helicopter.
He does not travel more than 80km from the property.
"If he needs to travel further for an appointment he must notify police at least 24 hours prior, unless it is a medical emergency," reported the New Zealand Herald.