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Ex-Mt. Gox CEO's acquittal for embezzlement to be finalized

Mark Karpeles (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prosecutors have decided not to appeal a Tokyo court ruling that acquitted Mark Karpeles, former chief of Mt. Gox Co. -- once one of the world's largest bitcoin digital currency exchanges -- of embezzling customers, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

The move would let stand the Tokyo District Court's ruling issued on March 15 on the embezzlement charge. His lawyers are considering whether to appeal the guilty verdict for his manipulating data on the trading system, which was also handed down the same day.

The 33-year-old founder of Mt. Gox faced a charge of taking about 341 million yen ($3 million) of customers' money kept in Mt. Gox accounts between September and December of 2013 and using it to acquire a software developer and purchase a canopy bed worth 6 million yen among other items.

He was also charged with manipulating Mt. Gox bitcoin trade data between February and September of 2013 to pad the amount of his accounts.

The court sentenced the French-born former CEO of the Tokyo-based exchange that went under in 2014 to 30 months in prison, suspended for four years, on the charge.

But the court had rejected prosecutors' claims of embezzlement, saying his acquisition of a software developer business was reasonable and transfers of money to his personal account from that of Mt. Gox were loans he had intended to return.

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