Mt. Gox Used Client Money for Operations and Extravagances, Allege Staff

Mt Gox used customer deposits to fund company operations and unnecessary purchases back in 2012, according to its staff.

AccessTimeIconMar 30, 2014 at 11:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:35 a.m. UTC

Mt. Gox allegedly spent money from its clients' deposits on operating expenses including extravagances as early as two years before it went bankrupt, according to new claims by employees.

In a series of exclusive interviews given to Reuters in Tokyo, the small group of anonymous current and former Mt. Gox employees claim to have approached CEO Mark Karpeles about their concerns in early 2012, but their requests to view the company's financial records were rebuffed.

Mt. Gox spent money, said Reuters report, on rent in the same high-status Tokyo office building as Hulu and Google, office equipment that included a robot and a 3D printer, and a special edition Honda Civic imported for CEO Mark Karpeles from the UK.

This occurred just as the company, and bitcoin itself, were beginning to expand and gain interest from investors.

Staff kept in the dark

The employees, worried that Gox was spending more money than was coming in, requested a formal meeting with Karpeles and asked for proof that client deposit amounts were protected.

After a one-hour meeting, Karpeles assured them customer money was not being used improperly but would not provide any evidence, leaving them dissatisfied.

It fits with other unofficial reports of a general malaise in the office and personal dissatisfaction with Karpeles, who employees have claimed paid little attention to Mt. Gox's exchange business and an excessive amount on side projects like the company's planned Bitcoin Cafe and its transaction processing system.

Legally, Mt. Gox was under no obligation to release any financial details in the time it operated, since it was a privately-held company 88% owned by Karpeles.

Extensions and refusals

In other Gox news, the company website has been updated to announce that the deadline for an examination report issued by the Tokyo District Court has been extended to 9th May.

Late last week it was also revealed Karpeles is refusing to travel to the US for questioning, as part of the Gregory Greene lawsuit.

Greene and Joseph Lack had requested a US judge order Karpeles to the US to testify, "in order to protect domestic creditors." Karpeles, apparently, has declined to go to the US and offered instead to go to Taiwan, for questioning by lawyers live or via video link.

Steven Woodrow, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case, expressed disapproval at Karpeles' decision, saying anyone seeking protection from US courts should be prepared to enter the country to justify such protection in person.

Gold chain image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.