Wall Street Journal reports that the Tokyo Police Department has officially launched an investigation into MtGox’s missing bitcoins. Former CEO Mark Karpeles had requested police investigation in March, shortly after the exchange collapsed.
The coins’ whereabouts are unknown, but foul play is suspected. They suspect 27,000 coins were stolen through unauthorized computer access. A police spokesman said:
“We decided to launch an investigation as we concluded this case could be connected to criminal activity.”
Court-appointed trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi earlier this week extended his deadline for a report from the investigation, from November to May. A “considerable amount of time” may be necessary due to the complexity of the case. The outcome of the investigation may help determine the best direction for the bankruptcy proceedings.
Creditors have criticized Kobayashi for relying on a police investigation. They argue that computer security and forensics experts are more fitting for this case.
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Creditors should not set their hopes too high. The decentralized nature of the Bitcoin network means that although all transactions are viewable in some form, tracing the coins’ exact travels is nearly impossible. Even they can be traced, authorities would have a tough time enforcing the coins’ return.