Confirming speculations that a criminal investigation will soon happen, the failed Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox is now working closely with police authorities “with regard to the disappearance” of bitcoins worth $490 million. A statement on the website of Mt. Gox said it gave the Tokyo Metropolitan Police documents and records as part of its civil rehabilitation application.
Mt. Gox said 750,000 bitcoins belonging to its customers and some 100,000 of their own were stolen after hackers got through a flaw in their software. They filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 28. Another bankruptcy protection was filed by the exchange in the U.S. after customers sued the company and its CEO, Mark Karpeles, of fraud. On March 16, another class-action suit was filed in Canada for a security breach, which resulted in “the pilfering of millions of dollars’ worth of Mt. Gox users’ bitcoins.” Mizuno Bank Ltd. was dragged in both lawsuits, alleging that it has aided the fraud by providing banking services to the exchange, where Mt. Gox had stored the users’ money in one or several accounts at the bank.
However, just last week, following the ruling of a judge in Chicago to track bitcoin movement, Mt. Gox announced its discovery of 200,000 “forgotten” bitcoins in an old format “wallet” that the exchange thought was emptied out. Federal investigators are now embroiled in an extensive investigation with various theories. However, the possibility that a Mt. Gox insider was responsible for the hacking still remains a strong angle that federal investigators are looking into.