Former Mt. Gox CEO Responds To FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried Requesting For Freedom Before Trial

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The former CEO of the defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, Mark Karpelès, has drawn an analogy between his case and that of FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) following the latter’s persistent request to be released in order to prepare his defense for his upcoming trial in October adequately. 

Only A Calculator To Work With

In a tweet shared on his X (formerly Twitter) platform, Karpelès stated that he had only a “simple calculator” to work with when he was arrested back in 2015. This was the “most computing power” he got when he had to review “20000 pages of evidence including over 5000 pages of accounting.” 

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He was, however, able to work with what he had as he credits the calculator as being integral to him earning his release under bail and eventually being cleared of all embezzlement and breach of trust charges.

His comment comes at a time when Sam Bankman-Fried and his lawyers are seeking to get the former FTX CEO released (although their request has been denied), arguing that he doesn’t have enough resources. The cited inadequate resources include frequent access to an internet-enabled device, to review discovery materials which the prosecution has provided the defendant with. 

Similarities Between Sam Bankman-Fried And Karpelès?

Although Karpelès’ trial was in Japan, his comment seems to suggest that Sam Bankman-Fried is getting better treatment than he did while he was detained, and if he could secure his freedom with little or nothing to work with, then SBF should be able to do the same. 

One can, however, draw similarities between both stories. Sam Bankman-Fried is being accused of embezzling customers’ funds, an allegation that was also leveled against Karpelès for being responsible for Mt. Gox’s customers’ Bitcoins, which were lost before the company filed for bankruptcy.

Karpelès mentioned that he spent “11 months and 15 days in pre-trial detention and didn’t have access to any of the evidence until about 7 to 8 months in.” That didn’t deter him, though, as he outlined how he broke down the evidence against him, including indexing these documents for easy accessibility and performing certain accounting documentation.

His accounting efforts paid dividends as he discovered that some missing profits and certain parts of the company’s revenue weren’t accounted for. Through this, Karpelès and his lawyers discovered that the prosecution’s argument didn’t add up, leading to his release on bail.

The prosecution, after that, leveled a case of breach of trust against him, with the trial lasting another two years after his initial release. He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing in 2019.

Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried currently faces seven counts of fraud-related charges. He has maintained his innocence but will have to prove that in court as he faces up to 100 years imprisonment if found guilty of all these charges. His trial begins on October 3, barring any postponement by the court.

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