Dotcom denies charges, rival stops file-sharing

Dotcom denies charges, rival stops file-sharing

AUCKLAND - Reuters
Dotcom denies charges, rival stops file-sharing

Friends and family for Kim Dotcom walk outside the North Shore court following a hearing for Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom in Auckland yesterday. AFP photo

Megaupload’s detained founder denied wrongdoing yesterday after U.S. authorities shut down his file-sharing website, as new details emerged of a rock-star life featuring “fast cars” and “hot girls”.

Appearing in a New Zealand court, Kim Dotcom demanded to be freed from police custody and denied doing anything illegal, rejecting U.S. claims that he had overseen one of the Internet’s biggest and most lucrative crime scenes.

The judge reserved a decision until at least today on a bail application filed by the German businessman, who is also known as Kim Schmitz and who faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of rampant copyright theft.

He is among seven people indicted by the U.S. Justice Department and FBI, which said they were “responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com” and other sites.

They generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and caused more than $500 million in harm to copyright owners by offering pirated copies of movies, TV programs and other content, according to last week’s indictment.

Dotcom has vigorously denied the allegations, and his lawyer Paul Davison told the bail hearing that the 37-year-old German, who has New Zealand and Hong Kong residency, had not been involved in any criminal activity.

“This is not a case where there will be any concession by Mr Dotcom,” Davison told the North Shore District Court in Auckland.

The lawyer said Dotcom had no intention of fleeing if granted bail as he wanted to stay in New Zealand with his pregnant wife and family, and had no incentive to re-start the business as all his servers had been shut down.

However, prosecutor Anne Toohey described the imposing Dotcom as an “extreme” flight risk and said that he had fled to Thailand when he was previously wanted on charges in Germany.

She also opposed electronic bail as it would likely give Dotcom access to telephones and the Internet.

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