Mark Karpeles, the CEO of the now-defunct Japanese exchange Mt. Gox, has been acquitted of most charges by the Tokyo District Court on March 15, CNN reports. Karpeles could get up to 10 years in jail after Tokyo prosecutors indicted him on a series of charges.
Suspended jail time
Karpeles was found guilty of tampering with financial records, receiving a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence with four-year suspension. Unless he commits another crime over the span of these four years, it is very unlikely that he will serve jail time.
Defying all odds
As mentioned above, Karpeles was indicted on a series of charges, including embezzlement and breach of trust. However, the court concluded that there was no evidence of embezzlement.
This is an unprecedented case given that the Japanese prosecutors are very powerful and the country’s conviction rate is 99.8 percent. Karpeles told CNN that he was ‘happy’ to be judged not guilty for the most serious charges.
His rise and fall
Karpeles bought the Mt. Gox exchange back in 2011, turning the fledgling company into the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world that at one point would handle a whopping 70 percent of the total Bitcoin trading volume.
On Feb. 7, 2014, Mt. Gox froze canceled all trades and froze all accounts to later discover that 740,000 BTC ($2.9 bln at press time) had been stolen from the exchange.
On Aug. 1, 2015, Karpeles was arrested on embezzlement charges, but he continued to maintain his innocence throughout all these years.