Ross Ulbricht’s defense dropped another bombshell in the ongoing Silk Road trial, furthering their thesis that their client is not the true “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR) as claimed by prosecutors.
The proceedings confirmed reports from awhile back that the FBI had in fact been suspecting Mark Karpeles’ role in Silk Road. Jared Der-Yeghiayan, who had earlier delivered a first-hand account of the tracking and arrest of Ulbricht, was cross-examined by Ulbricht’s attorney Josh Dratel.
Der-Yeghiayan acknowledged that investigators had been looking into MtGox, and even found some evidence potentially linking it with Silk Road. The exchange would have an interest in bitcoin prices as it controlled the majority of global trading, even after the Silk Road shutdown. In May 2013, authorities did seize MtGox assets, accusing the exchange of running an unlicensed money services business.
Dratel used the Der-Yeghiayan testimony to further his argument that DPR’s true identity is far from certain, and that his client has been set up as the “fall guy.” To the objection of prosecutors, he stated:
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“They had this guy [Karpeles] in their sights and he’d never been charged. Our position is that he set up Mr. Ulbricht.”
Karpeles has since gone on the record denying any connection with DPR or Silk Road.
Before MtGox was brought into the picture, Der-Yeghiayan finished up his testimony from the previous day. The court was presented with photos of Ulbricht’s laptop screen, purportedly showing his bitcoin accounts worth millions of dollars. The first photo taken was of the forum-moderation page where Ulbricht was chatting with “Cirrus.”
After Ulbricht’s arrest, agents made their way over to his house where they seized his passport and driver’s license. They also found two crumpled-up notes: one with equations about buyer and seller “weights,” another with musings of a feedback scale ranging from 1 to 5.
The court was also shown his passport, showing entry and exit stamps from travel to the Dominican Republic, where prosecutors allege Ulbricht sought to flee with his fortune.