Twist and turn – that might be the most appropriate title for whatever best selling book details the MT Gox saga, the biggest theft in history.
Because the story so far has had more twist and turns than any in this space, starting with the “found” 200,000 bitcoins that were meant to be stolen, the allegations by Silk Road’s operator that Mark Karpeles was Silk Road’s founder, the arrested corrupt US Special Agents, and the arrest of the alleged stolen MT Gox coins launderer last month.
Now, we are being told Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of MT Gox, is actually “a good guy” by an unnamed US Special Agent, according to Japan Times.
“Mark Karpeles may be a terrible businessman and may have run his company into the ground. He may have realized the BTC (bitcoin) were taken earlier than announced. But we have known for a long time that his firm, like Bitcoinica, was targeted by Eurasian hackers and the stolen BTC cashed out via BTC-e.
Karpeles cooperated with the Silk Road investigation. He cooperated with this investigation. In our eyes, he’s a good guy and he hasn’t always been rewarded for doing the right thing,” the agent said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Karpeles is standing trial in Japan under allegations of embezzlement of customers funds, but the agent seems perplexed at his arrest.
“We sort of wonder why the Japanese police arrested Karpeles rather than tried to work with him. But, then again, we don’t really understand the Japanese justice system,” the agent said.
However, what exactly happened to 800,000 bitcoins, now worth $2.5 billion and even back then worth nearly a billion, remains unknown. A hack of such huge amounts appears incredible, but US authorities seem confident they know what happened.
Referring to Alexander Vinnik, a Russian man arrested last month in Greece for laundering stolen MT Gox coins and other crime proceeds, the agent says: “We know we’ve got the right guy in this money laundering investigation.”
Vinnik has denied the charges, so there may be a full trial in which prosecutors will have to prove the funds were crime proceeds. That is, they will have to prove they were hacked from MT Gox.
At which point we may find out just what exactly happened, but based on the above statements of the Special Agent, new questions arise.
If they were aware MT Gox was being targeted by hackers, why did they not intervene earlier to prevent it? If they knew these funds were being laundered, have they kept track of the movements, do they know where the money is, will it be returned to its rightful owners if they manage to seize it?
Those are just some of the questions that may be answered in the coming months or years, but the MT Gox case is starting to become a bit clearer following last month’s events.