Kim Dotcom, the founder of MegaUpload, one of the world's leading file-sharing and online storage sites until it was closed down by U.S. authorities last week, was denied bail by the North Shore District Court in New Zealand Wednesday.
Dotcom, accused of online copyright piracy, and his three accomplices will remain in custody in New Zealand until Feb. 22, waiting for the extradition to the U.S. where he faces charges of racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.
Prosecutor Anne Toohey insisted at the hearing that Dotcom posed a significant flight risk for he has access to large sums of money. Moreover, the millionaire is in possession of multiple identities and credit cards under different names, Toohey said.
Judge David McNaughton expressed the same concern and is worried that Dotcom could escape to his native Germany, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
Defense attorney Paul Davison said he would appeal Wednesday's decision. Davison argued that his client won't attempt to flee, for his assets have been seized by the authorities. The lawyer also said the media and U.S. government has been misrepresenting Dotcom's business.
Before the U.S. government shut down Megaupload, the site had become a major file-sharing and online storage site in the world, boasting of 150 million registered users and some 50 million hits per day.
According to the federal officials, the defendants pocketed millions of dollars in loot and cost the film industry more than $600 million in damages.
Dotcom, a former hacker and illegal street racer, was arrested last Friday in his luxurious mansion in Auckland, N.Z.
During the raid, the New Zealand police also seized the vast wealth they discovered in Doctom's mansion, including 18 luxury vehicles.
Bloomberg reported that the Internet pirate has more than $21 million in 23 separate bank accounts in Hong Kong. The FBI believes Dotcom had earned $42 million in the 2010 calendar year alone.
Dotcom's real name is Kim Schmitz. Kim changed his last name to Dotcom to pay homage to the technology that made him a millionaire. The same technology also led him to be arrested.
If convicted, Dotcom and his accomplices could face up to 50 years in prison.