Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, arrested in New Zealand in a joint operation with the FBI earlier this year, has been granted bail by the judge presiding over his case, enabling him to return to his home to spend time with his children and pregnant wife.
Despite being allowed to leave custody, Dotcom has some restrictions, namely that he is prohibited from using the internet and flying in helicopters.
Prosecutors had argued that Dotcom, despite his distinctive huge frame, could be a flight risk, given his multiple passports and network of international contacts. On January 26, Judge David McNaughton ruled against granting bail for the defendant, considering the flight risk to be real.
However, since then the court has reversed its decision, with new judge Nevin Dawson satisfied that Mr Dotcom's assets have been seized and frozen to an extent which will prevent him from fleeing the country. He is, however, confined to his New Zealand home.
"It would seem that he has every reason to stay (in New Zealand) to be with his family and to fight to keep his significant assets,'' Judge Dawson told the New Zealand Daily Herald.
Dotcom is said to be "very relieved" at the decision. His co-defendants have already been granted bail. The US extradition case continues.