Less than one year ago Mt. Gox was on top of the cryptocurrency world. The globe's largest cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox was poised to be an industry leader for many years. But disaster struck last year after a devastating series of “thefts” that eventually forced the company to freeze withdrawals and eventually declare bankruptcy. The drama continues however as more evidence comes to light, investors voice numerous complaints about Mt. Gox Liquidator, Nobuaki Kobayashi and questions about what exactly happened to the millions of dollars lost and the 200,000 bitcoins that were supposedly salvaged.
Huge Expenses but no Answers
Mt. Gox claimed on 28 February, 2014 that it was holding $US30 million but by May that number was down to $US7 million and dropping fast. The biggest reason for the massive cash losses have been the “expenses” accrued by the Liquidator, Kobayashi. On one instance, that was discovered in newly released documents, Mt. Gox paid its parent company, Tibanne $US200,000 for “services rendered” and in another the bill for preparing and mailing out notices (fancy double sealed postcards) to the creditors is said to be as high as $US100,000. Expenses have averaged $4 million a month and, at the rate they are going, will completely deplete the fund before the leaves on the trees begin to fall, with the creditors seeing none of it.
The silence from the Liquidator has been deafening. Despite a deadline of November28, 2014, no claim forms have been made available. The investigation is set to begin in February, 2015 and a date for the distribution of any remaining funds has not been set. Although this is nearly pointless at this rate unless the 200,000 bitcoins can be located. Mark Karepels, the CEO and 88% shareholder of Mt. Gox, is currently in litigation in US courts facing claims of fraud and gross negligence by Mt. Gox creditors.
Conflict of Interest
The Liquidator has an obligation under the law to liquidate Mt. Gox's assets so that the court can distribute them fairly and equitably. The Liquidator can also legally use monies from the account to pay for any expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. But Tibanne is, or was, in primary control of Mt. Gox and owned the majority of the company. It is highly questionable for the Liquidator to pay the parent company to liquidate a company in bankruptcy.
Unfortunately not much is known yet about exactly what duties Tibanne performed for the Nobuaki Kobayashi because it was heavily redacted, which is very unusual in a civil case. Plaintiffs have the right to “discover” non-proprietary documentary evidence. There are conditions under which certain information can be redacted but this information did not fall into those categories and the court gave no special orders.
Mark Karpeles claims on Twitter to have been totally unaware that such a payment had been made for received and the Liquidator has so far avoided making any statement about the newly revealed documents and the US$200,000 payment to the parent company. The document does make clear however that the parent company, Tibanne, hired another company to perform services for Mt. Gox.
The name of the other company or what services were provided has not yet become clear, however. One theory suggests that the Liquidator negotiated the payment for one month's service, and after that terminating the contract with no liability but Kobayashi is silent.
A creditor’s meeting has been scheduled for July 23, 2014 at the Tokyo District Court Place for Creditors’ (Meeting Number 1) beginning at 1 pm. The meetings purpose is to allow the liquidator to provide creditors with a report of the current assets and their status. But as those assets now only amount to US$7 million, many of the creditors will probably choose to skip it rather than pay for an expensive trip to Japan.