May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom, accused of orchestrating the biggest copyright infringement conspiracy in U.S. history, can return to his leased luxury mansion after a New Zealand court relaxed bail terms.
The judge ruled today that Dotcom was no longer a flight risk, granting the removal of electronic tags the Internet tycoon was required to wear, according to a report on stuff.co.nz. Dotcom had been staying in a smaller home next to the mansion in an Auckland suburb. Ministry of Justice spokespeople were unable to obtain a copy of the ruling for Bloomberg News.
Dotcom, 38, was indicted in what U.S. prosecutors dubbed a “Mega Conspiracy,” accusing his file-sharing website of generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated film, music, book and software files. He faces as long as 20 years in prison for each of the racketeering and money-laundering charges in the indictment.
German-born Dotcom was arrested at his residence in late January and spent four weeks in jail before being released to await an extradition hearing, currently scheduled for Aug. 20. When police raided the mansion in Coatesville, north of Auckland, they seized 18 luxury vehicles, including a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and a 1959 pink Cadillac.
The Dotcom mansion is valued at NZ$30 million ($23 million), according to an article on the stuff.co.nz website. The property is also known as the “Chrisco mansion,” because it was built by the founders of the Christmas hamper company.
Dotcom last month said that New Zealand politician John Banks, leader of the one-seat ACT party in coalition with Prime Minister John Key’s government, incorrectly reported that donations of NZ$50,000 from Dotcom towards his failed 2010 bid for the Auckland mayoralty were anonymous.
Dotcom then lampooned the politician in a rap song he recorded at Crowded House singer Neil Finn’s recording studio in Auckland, along with an accompanying music video.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bourke in Wellington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org