Mark Karpelès, former CEO of the now obsolete crypto exchange platform Mt. Gox, still claims he is innocent of embezzlement and data manipulation charges, according to a December 27 article published in Japan's publicly owned NHK news organization.
Between 2011 and 2014, 850,000 bitcoin – worth approximately $473 million at the time – were stolen in an apparent hack from Mt. Gox, then the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, though 200,000 bitcoin later turned up. Karpelès is being charged in Japan in connection to the embezzlement of customer funds and providing false data regarding account balances.
As previously reported by ETHNews, from September to December 2013, Karpelès allegedly transferred 341 million yen ($3 million) from an account holding customer funds to an account bearing his name. Although Karpelès hasn't denied transferring the money, he has pled not guilty to charges of embezzlement.
Instead, he has claimed that the allegedly stolen money was meant to be a temporary loan that he would repay. However, the former CEO, prosecutors claim, provided no documentation that any kind of loan was issued and Karpelès had no intention of providing restitution. At that time, prosecutors demanded a severe sentence due to the betrayal of Karpelès' customers and the large amount of funds allegedly stolen.
On December 12 of this year, it was reported that Japanese prosecutors were seeking a 10-year sentence for Karpelès.
According to today's report, although he did apologize that not more was done to prevent the hack on Mt. Gox, Karpelès still maintained his innocence during the last day of the trial. His sentence is scheduled to be handed out on March 15, 2019.