Mt.Gox CEO Mark Karpeles to go on trial in Tokyo next week

posted 11 months ago
The former CEO of collapsed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox will go on trial in Tokyo next week on charges stemming from the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency from its digital vaults.

“He is keeping calm as the trial gets underway,” his lawyer Kiichi Iino said, adding that Karpeles, 32, plans to plead innocent.

Karpeles was first arrested in August 2015 and released on bail nearly a year later over allegations he fraudulently manipulated data and pocketed millions worth of bitcoins.

Mt. Gox, which claimed it once hosted around 80 percent of global bitcoin trading, closed in 2014 after admitting that 850,000 coins — worth around $480 million at the time — had disappeared from its vaults. The company initially said there was a bug in the software underpinning bitcoins that allowed hackers to pilfer them.

Karpeles later claimed he had found some 200,000 of the lost coins in a “cold wallet” — a storage device, such as a memory stick, that is not connected to computers.

Karpeles, who said he is working as an IT consultant, is active on social media and has commented on issues concerning bitcoin, but not on the details of his criminal case.

“The charges only cover a subset of the issues which were happening at Mt. Gox, so I don’t expect that we will find out most of the information we want to know,” said Kolin Burges, a British investor who said he lost several hundred bitcoins in the exchange’s collapse.

“I’ve not had any back yet but hopefully, eventually all the creditors will get a small percentage of their money back from the bankruptcy distribution,” he said.
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