(Reuters) — Mark Karpeles, the founder of Mt. Gox, said he would not
come to the United States to answer questions about the Japanese
bitcoin exchange's U.S. bankruptcy case, Mt. Gox lawyers told a
federal judge on Monday.
In the court filing, Mt. Gox lawyers cited a subpoena from the U.S.
Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which
has closely monitored virtual currencies like bitcoin.
"Mr. Karpeles is now in the process of obtaining counsel to
represent him with respect to the FinCEN Subpoena. Until such time
as counsel is retained and has an opportunity to 'get up to speed'
and advise Mr. Karpeles, he is not willing to travel to the U.S.",
the filing said.
The subpoena requires Karpeles to appear and provide testimony in
Washington, D.C., on Friday.
The court papers also said a Japanese court had been informed of the
issue and that a hearing was scheduled on Tuesday in Japan.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that, unlike conventional money, is
bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of central
control. Its value has soared in the last year, and the total worth
of bit coins minted is now about $7 billion.
Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for
bankruptcy protection in Japan last month, saying it may have lost
nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual coins due to
hacking into its computer system.
According to Monday's court filings, the subpoena did not specify
topics for discussion.