A Japanese court has found Mark Karpeles guilty of tampering with financial records. Due to this charge, Mr. Karpeles has been handed a suspended jail sentence. He was the CEO of the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange, which shut down in February 2014. The exchange had enjoyed a brief stint at handling over 70 percent of global BTC trades.
In a case heard by the Central Tokyo District court, Mark Karpeles was found guilty of mixing his finances with the exchange’s cash. The motive of doing that was to conceal the losses that the exchange was suffering.
The court handed him a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence. This means that he will not set foot in jail, for now. However, he has to be a law-abiding citizen. If he commits another offense, he will go to prison for both sentences.
Questionable Conduct After the Exchange Hack
After the Mt. Gox hack, the CEO was not indicted for the loss of funds. He was not charged with embezzlement in relation to the theft. The hack was the biggest at the time, affecting more than 24,000 customers. In 2014, a further 850,000 Bitcoins, currently worth about $3.3 billion, went missing.
In early 2015, before facing charges related to the hack, Karpeles found 200,000 of the missing coins. These were safely stashed in a cold-storage wallet. The timing of the ‘bitcoins discovery’ aroused suspicion. The court charged him with causing ‘massive harm to the trust’ placed on him by affected customers.
As Bloomberg reported it, the court found the embattled CEO guilty of abusing his status and position to commit the crime.
Innocence, Unfair Treatment
Since 2017, when the trial commences, Mr. Karpeles has claimed that he was innocent. He has accused the court of subjecting him to unfair treatment. He added that the court interrogated him harshly, bullying him to signing a confession. The interrogation lasted several months, and he did not have access to a legal team. The Japanese court has a 99 percent conviction rate.
In the United States, a court has denied Mark Karpeles a stay-order on yet another lawsuit. The suit compels him to take personal liability for the losses that investors got while using Mt. Gox.
Mr. Karpeles has also denied any association with the GoxRising Movement. The movement is led by Brock Pierce, who claims that he can reboot the exchange and get back investors’ money. He noted,
As to distributing assets faster than the trustee, I haven’t heard at this point anything that would make this possible from Gox Rising [sic]. The published plans seem to imply reviving Mt. Gox and creating a lot of complex legal structures which may take time to happen.
If the 12,000 of the 24,000 Mt. Gox creditors rally behind the cause, there would be more delays in getting back the money, according to Mr. Karpeles.
Do you think the Mt. Gox creditors will ever get back all their lost money? Let us know in the comments section below!
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