Megaupload founder released on bail

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Kim Dotcom, the founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload, was granted bail and released on Wednesday after a New Zealand judge determined that authorities have seized any funds he might have used to flee the country.

U.S. authorities allege Dotcom facilitated millions of illegal downloads through his company. He had been in custody since his arrest Jan. 20.

A smiling Dotcom spoke to reporters briefly outside the court as he was ushered to a waiting truck.

“I am relieved to go home to see my family, my three little kids and my pregnant wife,” he said. “And I hope you understand that that is all I want to say right now.”

He confirmed he would be fighting U.S. extradition efforts. Asked how he had been treated by the police after his high-profile arrest, Dotcom said, “Well, it felt a little bit like an audition to ‘American Idol.'”

Dotcom was released without any monetary bail bond, which is standard for cases that come before New Zealand’s district courts. He does have other conditions of release, but Ministry of Justice officials declined a request by The Associated Press to release those details, saying the AP would need to apply to the judge.

U.S. authorities claim Megaupload cost movie makers and songwriters some half a billion dollars in lost copyright revenue. They are trying to extradite Dotcom, 38, and three of his colleagues on racketeering charges.

New Zealand authorities have seized millions of dollars in investments and assets owned by Dotcom, including luxury cars and artworks.