Former Mt. Gox chief Mark Karpeles has been found guilty of falsifying financial records but acquitted of all other charges, including embezzlement. According to Bloomberg, the court has given him a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence, which means he won't have to serve jail time unless he commits another violation within the next four years. Tokyo-based Mt. Gox used to be the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world until it lost $500 million worth of bitcoin in 2014 to a cyber heist.
When Karpeles claimed to have recovered a fourth of the 850,000 lost bitcoins, authorities questioned the accuracy of his statements. He was then indicted on a slew of charges -- he's been on trial for embezzlement since 2017 -- with prosecutors calling for at least 10 years of jail time. Now, the Tokyo District Court has determined that the former chief acted without ill intent: he apparently used his personal finances to tamper with the exchange's accounts and hide the fact that Mt. Gox lost a massive amount of money to hackers.
While the court didn't find evidence of embezzlement against Karpeles, it still reminded him in its ruling that what he did was a "massive harm to the trust of his users." The court's decision added: "There is no excuse for the defendant, who is an engineer with expert knowledge, to abuse his status and authority to perform clever criminal acts."