Karpeles was found guilty for manipulating data at Mt. Gox and handed a suspended sentence earlier this year. Now, he’s looking to dip his toes back in the water with a new blockchain business venture.
Mark Karpeles: $450 million lost on his watch
Karpeles shot to infamy in the crypto space when hackers stole 850,000 BTC from Mt. Gox, the largest crypto exchange in the world at the time. Under Karpeles’ leadership, the exchange collapsed into bankruptcy.
Prosecutors went after Karpeles for embezzlement and fraud, claiming he siphoned $3 million from client accounts prior to the hack. Karpeles was cleared of these charges, avoiding a ten-year prison sentence.
The judge did, however, find evidence of record tampering in the weeks leading up to the loss of funds:
“The charge of electronic record tampering is true and deserves punishment.”
In other words, Karpeles manipulated and falsified bitcoin trading data on the exchange. Karpeles was handed a two year, six-month sentence, suspended for four years. He is currently appealing the charge.
New bitcoin business for Mt. Gox villain?
Details are sparse on Karpeles’ new venture, but he aims to make Japan a “global leader in blockchain.”
Karpeles has also written a book, published in May, called Cryptocurrency 3.0. The publishers refer to Karpeles as a “genius” who was proved “clean.”
“This book is the definitive guide written for the first time by a man who is the best in the world in virtual currency… The first book of a genius programmer who proved “clean.” (Translated from Japanese).
The claim is disingenuous at best since Karpeles was found guilty on charges of record tampering.
Karpeles himself doubled down on the claim of innocence in the book’s blurb. According to his Twitter feed, he appears at regular blockchain and cryptocurrency events in Japan:
“As a result of the trial, my innocence was proved, but it was a really painful experience.Because I only know both the wonder and the fear of virtual currency, I can tell you all.” (Translated from Japanese)
Would you trust your money with Karpeles?
The idea of Mark Karpeles starting a new blockchain or bitcoin business will strike fear into the hearts of many. While Karpeles plans his next move, Mt. Gox victims are still desperately struggling to get their money back.
Former Mt. Gox customers are battling through the excruciating process of proving their holdings. More than $450 million was stolen in the hack.