Mt. Gox bitcoin firm head arrested

The Yomiuri Shimbun The Metropolitan Police Department arrested on Saturday the president of Mt. Gox, a company that conducted transactions in the virtual currency bitcoin, on suspicion that he manipulated data in the trading system to inflate the cash balance of his own personal account.

The MPD arrested Mark Karpeles, 30, from France, currently living in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, on suspicion of unlawfully extracting and using private electromagnetic records.

Mt. Gox, based in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, is under bankruptcy procedures after it claimed that a high value of bitcoins disappeared from its computer system.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that exists and is traded predominantly on the Internet.

As many as 650,000 bitcoins, worth about ¥22.9 billion as of Saturday, and about ¥2.8 billion in cash disappeared from the Mt. Gox computer systems.

The MPD believes that the cause was unlawful data manipulation by Karpeles, and will investigate to reveal all the facts.

According to the MPD announcement, Karpeles accessed the Mt. Gox trading system, which was hosted on a computer server in the United States, and in mid-February 2013 altered twice the data relating to his personally-owned account.

The MPD alleged that Karpeles inflated the total cash value held in the account to $1 million (about ¥124 million).

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To read more, pick up the Aug. 2 print edition of The Japan News.Speech

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