Mark Karpelès, the disgraced former CEO of defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, faces ten years in prison as a Tokyo court prepares to hand down a verdict on embezzlement charges this Friday.
Karpelès is accused of syphoning $3 million of client money to his own accounts and faking exchange data. The 33-year-old maintains his innocence on all counts.
If convicted, it will be an explosive end to the Mt. Gox saga. Bitcoin’s most notorious exchange lost 850,000 bitcoins (worth $500 million) and filed for bankruptcy in 2014. The collapse of the world’s largest crypto exchange at the time caused the price of bitcoin to plummet into a long crypto winter.
KARPELÈS’ EMBEZZLEMENT RAP SHEET
Prosecutors have aggressively gone after Karpelès for alleged embezzlement of 340 million yen ($3 million). The prosecution claims Karpelès diverted Mt. Gox client funds to various other companies under his umbrella, including a 3D printing company.
Karpelès is also accused of spending client funds on prostitutes, overseas trips, utility bills, and an extravagant bed. According to court documents, the embezzlement occurred between September and December 2013.
Karpelès claims the movement of money was a temporary loan. In addition to the embezzlement charges, Karpelès is accused of manipulating exchange data at Mt. Gox.
KARPELÈS FACES TEN YEARS IN JAIL, 99% CONVICTION RATE
Prosecutors are asking the judges to consider a ten-year prison sentence for the disgraced CEO. Karpelès has already spent half a year in Japanese prison before being released on bail ahead of trial.
Speaking in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) he described the experience in Japanese prisons as: