Japanese prosecutors charged long embattled Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles with embezzlement over the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars worth in bitcoins, according to Jiji Press News agency. The charges mark the most recent chapter in the former CEO’s fall from grace.
Under Japanese law, a person can be held without formal charges for three weeks. The 30-year-old Karpeles was taken into police custody in Tokyo last month over his involvement in the disappearance of Mt. Gox funds. Authorities later re-arrested him for stealing 321 million yen (HK$20 million) worth of bitcoin from customers, giving authorities another three weeks to press charges. What exactly the charges are about remain unclear. Authorities have said Karpeles is accused of changing data and transferring funds between his firms dozens of times between 2011 and 2013.
Mt. Gox ceased withdrawals at the beginning of 2014, claiming a bug in the software allowed hackers to access bitcoins. The bank thereafter filed for bankruptcy. Karpeles later claimed to find a “cold wallet” with 200,000 worth of bitcoins. Mark Karpeles stuck with the “hack” story until the very end, claiming that the Bitcoin space would see more such hacks as Mt. Gox suffered. Karpeles is not only in hot water with authorities, but also his Japanese creditors, who are suing the beleaguered Bitcoiner.
Throughout the course of MtGox’s existence, the bitcoin exchange handled at some points 80% of the overall Bitcoin network’s transactions. Ultimately, the exchange caught the eye of US authorities and was fined upwards of $10 million.
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