Kim Dotcom, founder of the website Megaupload, was released from a New Zealand jail on Wednesday after a judge granted him bail.
A judge at the North Shore District Court found that the German-born Dotcom was not a flight risk. The decision came as a surprise after the court had earlier turned down Dotcom’s bail application and a subsequent appeal, saying he did pose a flight risk.
U.S. authorities claim Megaupload facilitated millions of illegal downloads, costing moviemakers and songwriters some half a billion dollars in lost copyright revenue. They are trying to extradite Dotcom and three of his colleagues on racketeering charges.
Authorities earlier seized millions of dollars in investments and assets owned by Dotcom, including luxury cars and artworks. Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz but legally changed his name. He has also lived in Hong Kong, where the Megaupload company is registered, and was granted New Zealand residency in 2010.
Dotcom’s colleagues had earlier been granted bail by New Zealand courts.