Categories: Bitcoin Entertainment

Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles Implicated in Silk Road Trial

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Mt. Gox bitcoin protest Mark Karpeles

The trial of alleged Silk Road ringleader Ross Ulbricht heated up today during the questioning of a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by the defense team, led by Ulbricht's lawyer Joshua Dratel.

The DHS witness, agent Jared DerYeghiayan, apparently claimed that Mark Karpeles, former CEO of the embattled bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, was once suspected to be the online black market's mastermind, Dread Pirate Roberts.

Reporters from the courtroom took to Twitter to address his claims; two suggested that the defense team is building a case to argue Karpeles is actually the "real mastermind" behind the Silk Road.

WIRED reporter Andy Greenberg, who has closely followed the Silk Road case and was in court today, referenced the suspicions that were brought up in court:

DHS agents strongly suspected at one point Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles was Silk Road's Dread Pirate Roberts...more to come when we adjourn

— Andy Greenberg (@a_greenberg) January 15, 2015

This statement was corroborated by a tweet from Vice reporter Kari Paul, who has been in the courtroom since Ulbricht's trial began on Tuesday:

Defense in Silk Road trial arguing Mark Karpeles, CEO of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, was the real mastermind behind Silk Road.

— Kari Paul (@kari_paul) January 15, 2015

While it's unclear whether Ulbricht's lawyers plan to use the DHS' suspicions of Karpeles in their strategy, Greenberg made a point to clarify that no such claims have been made yet from the defense team:

To be clear, everyone, defense has NOT made the argument Mark Karpeles was DPR, instead got a DHS agent to admit he was a suspect

— Andy Greenberg (@a_greenberg) January 15, 2015

It appears that other reporters in the courtroom perceived the claims as an arugment from the defense that Karpeles – not Ulbricht – is Dread Pirate Roberts. Forbes reporter Sarah Jeong tweeted about the defense's "theory":

Defense's alternative theory seems to be that MARK KARPELES OF MT GOX and one other were the real DPR. #SilkRoadTrial

— Sarah Jeong (@sarahjeong) January 15, 2015

During his cross-examination by Dratel, it was apparently revealed that DerYeghiayan wrote e-mails about his suspicions of Karpeles as far back as 2012.

In one e-mail, DerYeghiayan appeared to note that Karpeles' motive for running the Silk Road could have been to control the price of bitcoin to benefit his exchange, Mt Gox:

"[Silk Road] would be a device for leveraging the value of Bitcoin, and if he could create a site independent of Bitcoin, you could control the value of Bitcoin."

CoinDesk was in attendance for the first day of Ulbricht's trial, where Dratel claimed in his opening statement that Ulbricht did indeed create the Silk Road.

Dratel argued, however, that Ulbricht ultimately handed off responsibility to another entity, who then framed Ulbricht once law enforcement began to investigate the online black market.

As such, the news of Karpeles' implication in the trial is just the latest twist in what has already proven to be a case filled with surprising revelations.

CoinDesk will continue to monitor this developing story.

The DHS witness, agent Jared DerYeghiayan, apparently claimed that Mark Karpeles, former CEO of the embattled bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, was once suspected to be the online black market’s mastermind, Dread Pirate Roberts.

Reporters from the courtroom took to Twitter […]

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Illuminati, Mason, Anonymous I'll never tell. I can tell you this, global power is shifting and those who have the new intelligence are working to acquire this new force. You matter naught except to yourself, therefore prepare for the least expected and make your place in the new world order.

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