Japan Court Sentences Suspended Jail Term to Ex-Mt. Gox CEO

He was found guilty of data manipulation, but acquitted for embezzlement.

A Tokyo district court has found the former CEO of Mt. Gox, Mark Karpeles, guilty of charges of data manipulation.

Though Karpeles was found guilty of tampering with trading data on the exchange, he was acquitted of charges of embezzling millions from client accounts.

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The Friday judgment by the court handed a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence to the former head of the doomed exchange, which he won’t have to serve unless he commits another violation within the next four years.

“The charge of electronic record tampering is true and deserves punishment, but there’s no criminal evidence of embezzlement,” the court said in the verdict.

The court also bashed Karpeles harming the “trust of his users” and stated: “There is no excuse for the defendant, who is an engineer with expert knowledge, to abuse his status and authority to perform clever criminal acts.”

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Throughout the entire trial, Karpeles maintained the claims of his innocence for all the charges against him, but he apologized to the customers for the bankruptcy of the exchange.

Creating a Legacy

Founded in 2011, Mt. Gox was one of the first well-received Bitcoin exchange which at its hight reportedly handled 70 percent of the world’s Bitcoin transactions. However, in 2014, the dominance of the exchange was shattered as it collapsed after the theft of 850,000 Bitcoins, then worth around half-a-million dollars.

The founder and head of the exchange, however, was not accused of any theft as the prosecutors later charged him for manipulating the exchange’s data and pocketing 340 million yen (around $3.1 million) from customers’ accounts between September and December 2013.

The Tokyo prosecutors previously demanded a 10-year jail term for the Frenchman for all the charges against him.

Ongoing Controversy with the Trustee

The trustee, who is now responsible for the refund process to the victims of the collapsed exchange, is also a controversial figure for his actions. He had allegedly taken many irresponsible steps to liquidate the crypto holdings like sending bulk selling order on crypto exchanges, creating in a panic among the traders and dragging the price of the coins down.

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