Late last week, Japanese prosecutors charged Mark Karpelès, the owner of famed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, with embezzlement. Authorities there accused him of stealing millions of dollars worth of bitcoins from customers of Mt. Gox.
This marks the second time Karpelès has been charged in Japan. In July 2015, he was accused of falsifying financial data. For now, the Frenchman remains behind bars in Tokyo.
Mt. Gox shut down in February 2014 in the wake of the “transaction malleability” problem that plagued other websites—losing more than 744,000 bitcoins (at present, over $172 million). This latest allegation has only added fuel to claims by many Bitcoiners who simply do not believe that the site could lose so much money over time without someone at the top noticing.
According to veteran Japan-based crime reporter Jake Adelstein, the Japanese police have a strategy of ramping up the charges and continually arresting Karpelès until he confesses. As Adelstein and his colleague Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky reported for the Daily Beast on Monday: