Mark Karpeles, former CEO of the long-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, has escaped some charges, but been found guilty of manipulating exchange data in a Japanese court.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Friday, the Tokyo District Court found Karpeles guilty of wrongfully making electronic records connected to Mt. Gox’s books, but innocent on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.
Karpeles was handed a suspended sentence of two years and six months. He must maintain a good record over the next four years to avoid jail time.
According to the WSJ report, Karpeles' lawyers wrote in their final argument to the court:
In December, Japanese prosecutors were seeking a 10-year sentence for Karpeles for embezzlement, alleging he used about $3 million of customers’ funds for his own personal use.
In August last year, the Japanese bankruptcy court that initially oversaw the case sided with creditors who made a petition to move the case to civic rehabilitation. As such, creditors could file for receiving their bitcoin locked up at Mt.Gox in their original form rather than having them converted to fiat currencies.
In January, Mt.Gox' trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi announced the deadline for creditors to file proof of their claims was extended to March 15, after which the trustee will submit the rehabilitation plan to the court.
Mark Karpeles image via CoinDesk archives