Earlier this week we did an article that the former head of the Mt. Gox crypto exchange was to see jail time by today (15th March). The Tokyo District Court has now sentenced Mark Karpeles to two and a half years in prison, suspended for four years.
Based in Japan, Mt. Gox was one of the biggest digital currency exchange operators across the globe.
The French-born CEO of the exchange was given a suspended jail sentence for manipulating Mt. Gox’s Bitcoin trade data but acquitted of embezzlement and violating corporate law by committing an aggravated breach of trust. Prosecutors had demanded a ten-year jail sentence.
The Karpeles case involved significant amounts of Bitcoin that vanished from the virtual banks of the exchange over five years ago. The case is still under investigation and is now undergoing civil rehabilitation procedures after the firm declared their bankruptcy in 2014.
The former CEO pleaded his innocence to all the charges put against him and he denied any involvement in the disappearance of the cryptocurrency by claiming that hackers had stolen the assets.
The Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo have been investigating the case but has so far not been able to establish the reasons behind the disappearance.
At issue in the trail was an offence over fund manipulation not directly related to the missing currency. Karpeles’ defense lawyers also stressed that "the content of the indictment is totally unrelated to Mt. Gox's failure."
The indictment claimed that the 33-year-old embezzled around $3 million by transferring funds that customers held with Mt. Gox to his and other accounts between September and December 2013. Allegedly, Karpeles used it for business purchases, living expenses, furniture and luxuries.
The prosecution added violation of the companies act, through aggravated breach of trust as a preliminary count.
Karpeles insisted that he had not used customers’ money illicitly. As we say, he pleaded his innocence and claimed that the money had been booked as loans to him by his company that he intended to settle at a later date. The court ruled that Karpeles had accessed the firm’s trading system between February and September 2013 and falsified data to show that more than $33 million had supposedly been credited to his accounts.