Megaupload's Kim Dotcom refused bail (also: insane neighborhood watch retort)
A New Zealand judge ordered Megaupload's Kim Dotcom to be held in custody, denying his bail, suspecting that the internet pirate posed a significant flight risk (too big for normal aircraft chairs, that's for sure).
The German national was remanded in custody until February 22nd ahead of a hearing which could see the eccentric extradited to the United States under a law that doesn't exist yet.
Prosecutors have accused Dotcom as the ringleader of a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing copyrighted material without authorisation. Dotcom's lawyers are saying that the company offered nothing more than an online storage space.
The judge said: "With sufficient determination and financial resources, flight risk remains a real and significant possibility which I cannot discount and bail is declined"
As well as being accused of mass-piracy, Dotcom also sent an extraordinarily odd and rather funny email round his neighbourhood which frightened everyone witless. Neighbours of his NZ$30m (£15.6m) leased property had suspicion aroused after seeing a fleet of cars speeding to his house bearing licence plates such as HACKER, MAFIA, GUILTY and GOD. After a little research, they sent their concerns to the owner of the mansion, who in turn sent them to Dotcom.
His reply to the neighbours read: "Dear Neighborhood-watch, as you all know I recently moved into the Neighborhood and I am a former hacker. Well I was just hacking into a local mail server and guess what I found.
"First of all let me assure you that having a criminal Neighbor like me comes with benefits.
1. Our newly opened local money laundering facility can help you with your tax fraud optimization.
2. Our network of international insiders can provide you with valuable stock tips.
3. My close personal relations with other (far worse) criminals can help you whenever you have to deal with a nasty Neighbor."
Read over for the rest.
The letter continued: "In all seriousness: My wife, two kids and myself love New Zealand and 'We come in peace'.
"Fifteen years ago I was a hacker and 10 years ago I was convicted for insider trading. Hardly the kind of crimes you need to start a witch hunt for. Since then I have been a good boy, my criminal records have been cleared, and I created a successful Internet company that employs 100+ people.
"All the media has to report are old news. Why? Because I have chosen to avoid the media. Just look what the media did to this Neighborhood. Scary.
"Now you can make a choice: 1: Call Interpol, the CIA, and the Queen of England and try to get me on the next plane out of New Zealand. 2: Sit back, relax and give me a chance to do good for New Zealand and possibly the Neighborhood.
"If you feel like it come over for coffee sometimes. And don't forget to bring the cocaine (joke). All the best, Kim."
And now, this mental millionaire is behind bars and we're a beserk eccentric down. Dammit.