Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom granted bail

Kim Dotcom enters a New Zealand courtroom, 25 January 2012 Kim Dotcom had previously been denied bail in New Zealand because the judge said he was a flight risk

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The founder of file-sharing site Megaupload has been granted bail by a New Zealand court.

Kim Dotcom, 38, has been in prison since 20 January at the request of the US authorities.

He faces charges in the US for one of the biggest copyright infringement cases in the country's history.

The site is accused of costing copyright holders more than $500m (£320m) in lost revenue.

Flight risk

North Shore District Court Judge Nevin Dawson overturned two previous rulings that the millionaire, who is a German national, was an "extreme flight risk" because he had the money and connections to get out of the country.

The judge said the risk had diminished because all his funds were seized and no new assets or bank accounts had been uncovered.

Speaking to reporters in Auckland, Mr Dotcom said he was "relieved to go home to see my family, my three little kids and my pregnant wife".

On 17 February Mr Dotcom was charged with three new criminal copyright counts and five new wire fraud counts.

That is on top of one count of racketeering, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of criminal copyright infringement charges.

US authorities are seeking to extradite Mr Dotcom, who changed his name legally from Schmitz, and three other co-defendants who had earlier been granted bail.

Denied charges

The US Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation allege that Megaupload and its related sites made millions in 'criminal proceeds' by sharing pirated copies of movies, music and other content.

Founded in 2005, the site was shut down by authorities last month.

They also seized millions of dollars worth of assets owned by Mr Dotcom including luxury cars, artwork and investments.

Mr Dotcom has denied any criminal misconduct and has said he will fight extradition to the US.

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