Mt. Gox’s former owner is soon to find out whether or he will be indicted in the ongoing embezzlement case held against him. According to a report from Bangkok Post, March 13, 2019, Mark Karpelès will have an official verdict on March 15, 2019.
Having denied the charges of embezzling approximately $3 million worth of client funds, and producing and manipulating fraudulent digital data over several years, Japanese prosecutors are looking to put Karpelès away for ten years.
Formerly the premier cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox was a staple in the early years of lucrative bitcoin trading, so much so that is was reported to be transacting 70 to 80 percent of global bitcoin trades in 2014.
In 2014, the company reported that over 850,000 bitcoins had been “lost”, which has since unraveled into an industry spectacle that left a bad taste in the mouths of regulators, investors, and the general public. Notably, the amount of bitcoin that had vanished was worth almost half a billion dollars at the time of the loss.
According to prosecutors, Karpelès was using the embezzled funds in a number of ways, namely a 3D-printing software business, overseas trips for “his estranged wife,” cleaning services and a luxury apartment amongst others.
Efforts to return the funds to Mt. Gox users are underway, with the Tokyo District Court approving a petition involved in the proceedings, as well as an effort from crypto-celebrity Brock Pierce.
Pierce is reported to have launched an initiative called “Gox Rising,” a move that is seeking to investigate the whereabouts of the stolen bitcoins and return them to their owners. Pierce considers the ongoing Mt. Gox drama to be akin to that of the final Game of Thrones season, saying “[it] has not been written yet.”
Regardless, there doesn’t appear to be much of a silver lining for Karpelès who seemingly has a slim chance of walking away with an innocent verdict.
Satoshi Mihira, Mizuho law firm’s chief attorney, said:
“If it was an outside hacker who stole the currency, it’s a problem. But if he stole even part of the money, it would be embezzlement.”
“His defense counsel needs a high level of evidence to win an innocent verdict.”