Toughen up. Mt. Gox’s ex-CEO only had a ‘little calculator’ to prepare for trial


Mark Karpelès, the former CEO of the collapsed exchange Mt. Gox, seems to have little in the way of sympathy for former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who’s been trying to get released from prison to prepare for his upcoming trial, citing poor internet. 

“When I was arrested back in 2015, the most computing power I got was a simple calculator (+-*/√),” Karpelès wrote in a Sept. 13 post on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Karpeles was arrested on two separate occasions in 2015 for the alleged misappropriation of nearly $3 million of Mt. Gox customer funds.

Karpelès eventually earned release under bail using a trusty “little calculator” he bought from the prison commissary and was eventually cleared of all embezzlement and breach of trust charges.

“I spent a total of 11 months and 15 days in pre-trial detention, and didn’t have access to any of the evidence until about 7 to 8 months in,” he said.

By using supplies he’d gotten from the jail’s store, Karpelès used folders and stickers to create an index of all the evidence he’d been sent by his legal counsel, which was all squeezed into a very complex eight-page file, he said. 

Karpelès said he was even initially going to brave it with an abacus — an ancient counting tool that uses sliding beads to add and subtract — which was the only item listed that could assist with calculations. Luckily, a prison guard told him that he could use a calculator for accounting cases and thus spared him the headache.

“I spent around $120 to buy the best calculator they had, which could do additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions, square roots for some reason, and had buttons to add/remove consumption tax,” he explained.

Related: The Mess That Was Mt. Gox: Four Years On

Finally, four years after his initial arrest in August 2015, Karpelès was said he was cleared of all embezzlement and breach of trust charges, “all thanks to that little calculator” and “of course the tremendous work” done by his lawyers.

Karpelès’ comments come days after lawyers for Bankman-Fried filed a request to have him released from prison, claiming that his poor internet access was a significant impediment to the preparation for the upcoming trial.

District Court judge Lewis Kaplan denied the request for temporary release on Sept. 12, declaring that poor internet access wasn’t sufficient grounds for release. 

Bankman-Fried currently faces 12 criminal charges, which will be spread across two trials scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2023, and March 11, 2024. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

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