If anyone was holding out hope that Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles might spend time behind bars, it’s time to give up. Japanese prosecutors have decided to drop their appeal of his March 15 acquittal, The Mainichi reports.
Shocking the world, a Tokyo district court made the initial ruling that Karpeles was not guilty of embezzlement in his activity with Mt. Gox, but was guilty of manipulating data. As a result, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison with a four-year suspended sentence, essentially guaranteeing he would never serve time in jail unless he committed another crime during the four-year period.
Prosecutors have now decided not to appeal that embezzlement ruling after having a couple of weeks to think about it. They might have lost hope of a conviction, as Japanese courts have recently shown a lot of leniency around cryptocurrency related activity, even if it appeared criminal on the surface.
Maybe not receiving the justice they wanted, Mt. Gox creditors will now need to turn their attention to the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of the exchange, which recently announced that it currently has $623 million secured for their benefit.
For Karpeles though, this must come as a giant relief. He’s consistently maintained his innocence in the face of a potential 10-year jail term. He’s maintained that he never embezzled funds, but merely took a small loan from the exchange of $3 million shortly before the company filed for bankruptcy. He’s also turned down more than $1 billion from the bankruptcy proceedings, saying he only wishes for closure.
Unfortunately for the rest of the industry, it appears many still haven’t learned their lessons from Mt. Gox, and several exchanges are ending up in the same dark territory. Mismanagement of QuadrigaCX, combined with a lack of regulation in Canada, has resulted in millions lost and thousands of creditors left holding the bag. DragonEx has also recently claimed a hack with an unknown amount lost.
The lesson has to follow the sage advice of the likes of Bitcoin Association Founding President Jimmy Nguyen and Kraken CEO Jesse Powell and finally get past this stage of immaturity, before it can realize real adoption.
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