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Illinois Judge Blocks Mt Gox CEO’s Bid to Weasle out of Bitcoin Trader Lawsuit

Gerelyn Terzo
An Illinois judge thwarted yet another attempt from Mark Karpeles to weasle out of a lawsuit brought against him by former Mt. Gox bitcoin traders. | Source: AP Photo Shizuo Kambayashi

For Mark Karpeles, the former CEO of the shuttered Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange, the hits just keep on coming, this time from more than 6,000 miles away. An Illinois court in a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on March 12 has denied Karpeles the chance to make a class action complaint in which he is named as a defendant go away, despite the fact that the infamous cryptocurrency exchange was based in Tokyo.

Judge Gary Feinerman ruled that the class action complaint, which was introduced by former customers of Mt. Gox who claim they suffered financial losses, was within the proper jurisdiction and therefore won’t be dismissed. The latest blow by the Illinois Northern District Court comes as Karpeles awaits his fate from a Tokyo court whose ruling on embezzlement charges lodged against the disgraced executive is expected in the coming days.

Writing Was on Wall for Disgraced Bitcoin Exchange CEO

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Karpeles may have seen this coming, as earlier this year the court advised the parties involved in the complaint to “proceed on the assumption that Defendant Karpeles’s motion to dismiss will be denied.” The former Mt. Gox CEO had argued that the Illinois court lacked personal jurisdiction over the allegations against him. Plaintiffs Gregory Greene and Anthony Motto are both Illinois residents.

Mt. Gox, which rocked the industry when it filed for bankruptcy in 2014, was domiciled in Japan, which is where the “alleged wrongful conduct took place,” according to the defense team. The exchange was neither registered nor did it have any offices in Illinois. In fact, Karpeles had never even set foot in the state. Karpeles maintained that he did not personally engage with them in their communication with the exchange despite the plaintiffs’ claims otherwise.

Not so fast, says the judge to the defendant.

“Although neither Karpeles nor Mt. Gox directed advertising specifically toward Illinois or even the United States, users could view information touting the exchange’s sophistication and security on Mt. Gox’s website. Greene and Motto, both Illinois residents, relied on those representations when they created their Mt. Gox accounts in 2012 and early 2014, respectively,” according to the ruling.

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