UPDATED: The MegaUpload extradition trial has begun in New Zealand, with the founder of the file-sharing site Kim Dotcom seeking bail to be with his pregnant wife. However, Dotcom will now wait until Wednesday to hear if his application is approved.
The decision for his bail application was expected to be made this afternoon by Judge David McNaughton. He has now reserved his decision until Wednesday.
“Given the breadth of issues covered in this bail application and the seriousness of the issues, I am going to reserve my decision,” he said.
Crown Prosecutor Anne Toohey, however, said that Kim Dotcom was a flight risk due to the number of aliases he has on travel documents, access to funds, and that he allegedly tried to avoid arrest by hiding in a safe room.
“Dotcom poses a flight risk at the extreme end of the scale,” Toohey told the court.
Paul Davidson QC, representing Kim Dotcom, denied he tried to avoid arrest by hiding in a safe room. Davidson also argued against the suggestion made by Toohey that he could restart MegaUpload if he escaped.
“He has no interest in reinstating the business until this is sorted,” he said. Davidson also added that the co-accused spent millions in making sure the company remained within the law.
Toohey added that police found multiple credit cards – six in one, 19 in another and 10 more found in a third wallet belonging to Dotcom; and that he was convicted for insider trading in Germany – which he fled.
Davidson said that he went to Germany willingly, not by being arrested in Thailand and deported.
Also heard in the court was the gun found in his mansion. Toohey told the court that the shotgun was loaded with a buckshot, and must have been modified – quoting from a police arms officer. That type of gun, according to Toohey, required a license that the police arms officer also said that would have not been granted.
Davidson, however, claims that it had never been used and only had a rubber bullet.
Kim Dotcom – real name Kim Schmitz – and three other men are alleged to be part of a “Mega Conspiracy” by the United States for reproducing and distributing copyright infringing files. The FBI is seeking to extradite them so they can face charges including conspiring to commit money laundering, copyright infringement, and aiding and abetting copyright infringement.
The raid by the FBI, in conjunction with New Zealand Police and other forces, seized $6 million worth of luxury cars – including, according to the New Zealand Herald, “15 Mercedes-Benz, a pink 1959 Cadillac and a Rolls-Royce Phantom” – and the site’s domain name. The FBI also seized $10 million from bank accounts owned by the four co-accused.
The United States authorities have 45 days to file extradition documents after the bail hearings.