Mark Karpelès, former head of collapsed bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, has been charged by Japanese authorities after stealing virtual currency thought to be worth £1.7m.
Reports’ coming out of Japan state that Karpelès has finally been charged after being arrested by authorities in early August. Karpelès was initially arrested over the disappearance of $390m worth of bitcoin, causing the exchange to go bankrupt in 2014.
The collapse of Mt Gox caused bitcoin’s value to fall rapidly, once being valued at £700, the cryptocurrency was soon being sold for as little as £150 around the time of the collapse.
The self-proclaimed ‘Bitcoin king’ is also being accused of falsifying data and misappropriating funds lifted directly from the exchange for his own benefit.
Karpelès states that he was ‘unsure’ of what happened to the missing bitcoins, but the prosecution claims that in February 2013, Karpelès accessed the exchange’s computer system and transferred the money into his personal bank account. Karpelès now faces a 500,000 yen fine and five years in prison.
Throughout the trial, Karpelès has denied any wrongdoing and has even said that he intends to pay back the value of the missing bitcoin himself. There are those however, who believe that Karpelès is guilty.
Ashley Barr, the first employee that Karpelès hired, has spoken out about Karpelès lavish spending habits.
Using virtual message board Reddit, Barr felt that “Mt Gox was an RPG to Mark, as he didn’t quite grasp the reality that the money being in deposited into his bank account meant more to other people than just numbers on his screen.”
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