Controversy surrounds a leaked report that bankrupt exchange Mt. Gox paid almost $200,000 in fees to its parent company, Tibanne K.K., after the exchange had filed for bankruptcy.
According to documents posted on the website goxdox.org, Tibanne, the web services company also owned by Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, and which shared the same office space, invoiced Mt. Gox on 26th May for “services rendered”.
Those services included office rent, server fees and employee expenses. However, according to a Reuters report in March, Mt. Gox had no other full time employees besides Karpeles and everyone else worked on a one-year contract basis.
The two Japanese-language invoices from May were approved for payment from Mt. Gox’s remaining assets by the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, and were issued during the company’s civil rehabilitation timeframe. As trustee, Kobayashi has exclusive power to administer and dispose of Mt. Gox assets.
In other alarming news, the documents, if genuine, reveal Mt. Gox’s remaining funds total only $7.6m – significantly less than the $38m in assets claimed in its bankruptcy application.
Additionally, a physical mailout to creditors notifying them of proceedings also allegedly cost $85,000, even though the information had already been posted on Mt Gox’s website.
These funds were not part of the 200,000 bitcoins recovered from what was described as an “old style wallet” after an initial 850,000 BTC went missing in an apparent hacking attack at some stage before February. The recovered bitcoins are worth roughly $125m on markets today.
Frustration for community
The expense reports were met with disbelief from Japan’s bitcoin community, many of whom lost money when Mt. Gox collapsed and some of whom lost six-figure dollar equivalents.
The news is sure to raise tensions at a creditors’ meeting scheduled for 23rd July in Tokyo, amid other reports Karpeles himself will attend.
There are rumors Karpeles himself is broke. A Wall Street Journal interview last month revealed he is still living in his Tokyo apartment and struggling to keep Tibanne operating with its remaining contract employees.
Karpeles indicated he also trying to sell other assets belonging to the firm, among them some lucrative domain name properties including bitcoins.com.
There are still two groups in consultation with the court to try and return creditors’ money by restarting the Mt. Gox business and operating it once again as a bitcoin exchange.