Hong Kong (CNN Business) — The man who oversaw the collapse of a giant bitcoin exchange was found guilty Friday of falsifying data but acquitted of other charges, meaning he’s unlikely to go to prison.
French businessman Mark Karpeles was the owner and CEO of Mt. Gox, which was once the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Based in Japan, the company imploded in 2014 after losing nearly $500 million worth of bitcoin belonging to investors.
Tokyo prosecutors had indicted Karpeles on a series of charges, including embezzlement and aggravated breach of trust, and called for a 10-year prison sentence. But the Tokyo District Court on Friday found Karpeles not guilty of the other charges and handed down a suspended prison sentence for the falsification conviction. The court also ordered him to pay for part of the cost of the trial.
Karpeles, 33, was found guilty of illegally altering Mt. Gox’s electronic records to falsely inflate the company’s holdings by $33.5 million. He was sentenced to 2½ years in prison with a 4-year suspension, which means he won’t have to serve time unless he commits a criminal act in the next four years.