Japan 'charges MtGox baron Mark Karpeles with BTC embezzlement'

Bitcoin exchange boss will face criminal court in adopted home country, say reports

Former MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles has been formally charged with embezzlement by prosecutors in Tokyo, it is reported.

Japan's public prosecutor brought the charges against French-born Karpeles on Friday, we're told. The Bitcoin exchange boss was arrested in August.

According to the AFP newswire, Karpeles will now have the right to request his release from jail pending the upcoming trial.

Though Karpeles has only now been charged, police have long held that he was involved with a series of fraudulent transactions that culminated in the 2014 collapse of the exchange and the loss of an estimated $480m worth of customer Bitcoin.

The loss was initially blamed on hackers exploiting a vulnerability in the Bitcoin protocol to trick the exchange into paying out extra funds on transactions, slowly leaching away MtGox reserves. This claim, however, was disproven by researchers, and police later concluded the vast majority of the missing Bitcoin were moved not by outside attackers, but rather by people within MtGox who knew how to manipulate transactions over a series of several years.

Following a pair of arrests in August, police made it known that they believed Karpeles was one of those involved with the fraudulent transactions.

Authorities in the US had also sought to grill Karpeles, though he declined to appear in the States citing a lack of legal representation stateside. He was also convicted on fraud charges in France in 2010. ®

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