Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom: I will not run away from bail
A NEW Zealand court has refused an appeal by the founder of online file-sharing site Megaupload.com to be freed on bail, agreeing with prosecutors that there was a risk he would attempt to flee before an extradition hearing.
Kim Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, was returned to custody until Feb 22 ahead of a hearing on an extradition application by the United States.
Prosecutors say Dotcom was the leader of a group that netted $175m since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorisation.
Dotcom's lawyers say the company simply offered online storage and that he strenuously denies the charges and will fight extradition.
Dotcom, 38, and three others were arrested on Jan 20 after armed New Zealand police raided his country estate at the request of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He told the court that, with his assets frozen and business shut down, he had no intention of trying to flee to his native Germany, where he would be safe from extradition.
"I have absolutely no desire to breach any condition that is given to me and I will not run away. I want to fight these allegations on a level playing field and have a fair chance to defend myself. Also, I have three little children, my wife is pregnant with twins and she is due in the next two months. I just want to be with them," he said in court.
The United States is expected to file its extradition application within the next few weeks.