Mark Karpelès, the former CEO of the defunct Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange says he will appeal his conviction on electronic data manipulation charges. Meanwhile, prosecutors on the case have announced their decision not to appeal Karpelès’ acquittal on embezzlement charges.
Karpelès is also a Victim of the Mt. Gox Hack
According to the Associated Press (AP), Karpelès’ lawyer, Nobuyasu Ogata believes his client’s actions during the Mt. Gox saga were tailored towards minimizing the risk exposure of the platform’s users.
Ogata’s comments come in the wake of the decision of the Tokyo District Court to convict the former Mt. Gox chief on data manipulation charges. Karpelès was, however, found not guilty of embezzlement and was handed a suspended sentence which means no jail time unless he is found guilty of another crime within the next four years.
Karpelès’ lawyer expressed delight at the latter ruling of the court, calling it “a proper decision.” However, the ex Mt. Gox CEO plans to appeal his conviction on data manipulation charges, as revealed in an email to AP, which reads in part:
During the opening of my trial in 2017, I swore to God that I am innocent of all charges. I believe appealing to the judgment is appropriate so that I can be judged again in full consideration of all the facts.
In a statement quoted by AP, Ogata maintained that Karpelès actions couldn’t be construed as illegitimate. Ogata even went further to state that Karpelès was as much a victim of the Mt. Gox hack as were the platform users and any guilty verdict was akin to scapegoating his client.
Prosecution Won’t Appeal Court Ruling
In a related development, prosecutors on the case say they will not be pursuing an appeal of the court’s decision to acquit Karpelès of embezzlement charges. According to inside sources who spoke to local Japanese media outlet, The Mainichi, prosecutors have decided to abide by the court’s ruling.
At the start of proceedings, Karpelès faced the possibility of a ten-year sentence over charges of unlawfully misappropriating $3 million in customer deposits for personal use. These withdrawals allegedly went towards the acquisition of a software developer, as well as other personal expenditure.
The court ruled that the business expenditure was legitimate and that all personal spending amounted to loans from Mt. Gox which Karpelès had every intention of repaying.