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Kim Dotcom denied bail before extradition hearing

Megaupload founder decided to be flight risk by judge

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has been denied bail ahead of his New Zealand hearing for extradition to the US, with Judge David McNaughton ruling that the defendant posed too much of a flight risk.

Dotcom's extradition hearing will take place on February 22.

When authorities raided Mr Dotcom's New Zealand property on January 20, they found multiple passports, sums of money and an illegal firearm, all of which helped to convince Judge McNaughton that bail would be inappropriate.

"The applicant's unlawful possession of the firearm is another factor which weighs in the balance," McNaughton told Fairfax News in New Zealand.

"It suggests a level of criminality which to my mind could easily extend to exploiting criminal connections to obtain false travel documents and leave the country undetected."

Dotcom and several other high level Megaupload employees face charges of piracy and money laundering.

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Dan Pearson