The Fallen Mt. Gox Bitcoin King Faces Jail Time in France

After making a bloody mess of Mt. Gox, the first and biggest name in Bitcoin trading, no one is expecting CEO Mark Karpeles to redeem himself and refund their missing cyber-money. A new report of Karpeles' criminal past won't help.

Gawker first floated reports of Karpeles' shady history in March, and now Ars Technica has its hands on a French court sentence (below) stemming from 2005 allegations of fraud against Karpeles' former employer, a European gaming service:

The 2010 decision shows that Karpeles lost by default, and he was found liable of "fraudulent access to an automated data processing system" and "fraudulent changes to data contained in an automated data processing system." The document also states that Karpeles admitted to French authorities that he had "pirated" a server.

In short, Karpeles went behind the back of his boss and illegally copied substantial amounts of user data after disagreements regarding how the company should be managed. Abusing customer trust? Sounds like our man.

After the seizure and subsequent falling-out, Karpeles resolved nothing and moved to Japan (where he'd later begin Mt. Gox) before receiving a subpoena—meaning he never appeared in his own defense. This also means he served none of his hard time.

You can't blame Karpeles for ignoring a court case if he wasn't told it was happening, but the French government's verdict is clear: Karpeles is guilty of fraud, and should be jailed for a year and pay fines. Instead, he remains free and aloof in Tokyo, pretending he never broke French law or imploded the world's biggest Bitcoin bin, full of other people's millions.

Let's all agree to not give this guy access to another server in the future.