Piracy co-accused bail hearing postponed

Last updated 15:07 27/01/2012

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One of the men facing extradition to the US over the Megaupload piracy case will have to wait until next week to find out whether he has been granted bail.

Mathias Ortmann, 40, from Germany, is seeking electronically monitored bail.

But in the North Shore District Court on Friday afternoon his case was adjourned until next week so his lawyer Guyon Foley has time to read and respond to further documents filed by Crown lawyers today relating to Ortmann's finances.

Just two of the men facing charges in the case have been granted bail.

Ortmann will reappear in Manukau District Court next Friday.

The court heard yesterday that an estimated US $2.5 million discrepancy in the accounts of Ortmann, could cost him the right to electronic bail.

The Crown was concerned he may have access to other funds which the FBI didn't know about.

Figures from the FBI, read in court, showed Ortmann made around US $14.5m from the internet company between 2005 and 2010.

He made an estimated US $3m in 2011.

But his accounts showed a total income of $20.15m, Judge David McNaughton said.

"That's a massive discrepancy," he said in the North Shore District Court yesterday.

Ortmann was remanded in custody until this afternoon as his lawyer Guyon Foley prepared an affidavit on where the estimated $2.5m came from.

Foley indicated yesterday it was from trading profits.

Meanwhile, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were granted electronic bail on Wednesday.

But they could spend a further three weeks in custody as their homes are assessed for suitability for electronic monitoring, Judge McNaughton said.

The pair were remanded in custody until at least next Thursday while the assessments are carried out.

Van der Kolk, 29, a Dutch national, blew kisses and mouthed "I love you" and "don't worry baby" to his wife Asia who was in court to support him.

She was in tears when his bail application was approved.

"I'm just glad my husband is going to be able to play with our baby again,'' she said.

She was supported in court by a friend, Amber Moltzer, who said the situation had been a "nightmare".

"We didn't know what to expect."

Batato, 38, from Germany, also has a fiancé back home and there were initially concerns that he would flee there and be immune from extradition as there is no agreement between the US and Germany.

Batato, Van der Kolk and Ortmann were arrested, along with Kim Dotcom, in a raid on the Megaupload founder's mansion in Auckland a week ago today.

Dotcom was this week denied bail as there were fears he would flee the country.

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The men, and three others, face five charges laid in an indictment by a US grand jury in Virginia.

Ortmann's electronic bail application hinges on his ability to explain where the unaccounted sum came from.
"This is the tipping point for bail, if it's not sorted I'll decline it," Judge McNaughton said.

"If everything's not adequate with the accountant, and there's substantial amounts available to him, and given his crucial position with the business.

"Whichever way I consider it, I'm forced to the conclusion to decline bail."

Ortmann's lawyer Guyon Foley said Ortmann told him the additional income was from trading profits.

"You'd get a bit of interest on $12 million over the years."

Judge McNaughton asked for Foley to file an affidavit and a hearing will be held tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon a picture was posted on Dotcom's Facebook page with the message ''Thx for the support plz share and think about it''.

Beneath the message were two pictures showing Dotcom and another man in the dock. Above the Dotcom picture it said: Sharing music on the internet. Below it said: 50 years.

The other picture said: Killed, raped and burned women to death. Below it said: 20 years.

- Auckland Now

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