Mark Karpeles, the chief executive of the infamous bankrupt Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, pleaded not guilty in court to charges of embezzlement and data manipulation today, according to a report by Reuters.
The trial proceeded in the Tokyo District Court on July 11, where Karpeles was indicted for diverting $3m in customer funds to his own account in late 2013, and allegedly, fabricating his account balance inside the exchange platform. The 32-year-old defendant denied such allegations.
Kolin Burges, a software developer in London and a Mt Gox creditor also president at the trial, said in a Tweet that "Karpeles admits operating Willy bot...but says it was for good of company so not illegal."
The Japan-based bitcoin exchange first filed bankruptcy protection in February 2014, with an outstanding debt of ¥6.5bn ($63.6m), amidst a loss of 850,000 bitcoins, which according to Mt Gox's explanation was due to a software security flaw that was breached by hackers.
The case became prominent as many of the stolen bitcoins belonged to Mt Gox customers, a fact that did much to raise eyebrows regarding the security, safety and regulation issues around cryptocurrencies.
Still, it's worth noting the collapse has had a broadly positive impact on domestic markets, as in April this year, Japan became the first country in the world to regulate bitcoin as a legal payment method in response.
Mark Karpeles image via CoinDesk archieves
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