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Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Released on Bail

Kim Dotcom in custody - H 2012
Getty Images

A judge in New Zealand says an extradition hearing to the U.S. is unlikely before the end of May at the earliest.

NEW YORK - Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom was released in New Zealand on bail on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He is awaiting a decision on whether he will be extradited to the U.S. where he would face such charges as copyright infringement. A judge said Wednesday that an extradition hearing was unlikely before the end of May or even July, according to the Journal.

Discussing the release on bail, the judge in charge argued that  Dotcom was unlikely to flee as he no longer seems to have access to significant resources. "All known assets have been seized and are unavailable for Dotcom's use or disposal," the judge said, according to the Journal. "No new assets or accounts of any significance have been revealed since his arrest."

A U.S. lawyer for Megaupload said that the conditions of bail likely include no use of Dotcom's helicopter and a lack of Internet access at his house, the Journal said.

Dotcom's release on bail "is a very important development for the defense," he added. "It will allow Kim to participate in his own defense in a more focused manner."

U.S. authorities have suggested that Megaupload generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and caused more than half a billion dollars in damage to copyright owners.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai