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Mt. Gox’s Mark Karpelès could avoid prison, despite faking financial records

A Tokyo court has handed him a 33-month suspended sentence

gox, cryptocurrency, blockchain, bitcoin

Mark Karpelès, the head of defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox, has been found guilty of tampering with financial records, but thanks to a suspended sentence will probably avoid prison.

Today, some five years after being ransacked by hackers, a Japanese court found Karpelès combined his personal finances with user funds kept on Mt. Gox in a bid to obfuscate the losses. He was handed a 33-month suspended sentence, Bloomberg reports.

The Tokyo District Court also found the Frenchman ‘not-guilty’ of embezzlement, after it decided he had committed those crimes without ill intent.

Mt. Gox was once the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchange. It was rendered insolvent after losing 850,000 Bitcoins (then $500M, today $3.3B) in 2014, which Karpelès claimed to be the fault of hackers.

Not long after, Mt. Gox actually “found” 200,000 of the “lost” Bitcoins. Today’s court decision relates specifically to Karpelès methods of covering up the extent of Mt. Gox’s losses.

He has maintained his innocence the entire time, even in the face of today’s impending court decision. He is likely to avoid prison, unless he commits another crime in the next four years. Karpelès reportedly spent roughly one year under arrest before authorities released him on bail.

So far, a trustee in charge of distributing what’s left of Mt. Gox’s coffers is estimated to have sold around $300 million worth of cryptocurrency as a means to repay some of the stolen money.

Karpelès‘ case reportedly has no bearing on those efforts. You can read a brief history of the Mt. Gox tragedy here.

While this doesn’t resolve exactly who hacked Mt. Gox, those involved now inch a little closer to closure, regardless of how hard stomaching today’s ruling might be.

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Published March 15, 2019 — 10:36 UTC