Mt.Gox closure: Bitcoin exchange probed by US and Japanese authorities


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The Independent Online

Japanese and US authorities are investigating the abrupt suspension of one of the world's biggest Bitcoin marketplaces.

Mt.Gox, an online exchange for the digital currency, was taken offline without explanation yesterday amid rumours of theft and insolvency. A statement has since been posted on the site saying the closure was “in order to protect the site and our users”.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihida Suga today confirmed that country’s police, Finance Ministry and financial watchdog are all investigating the case, adding: “Once we have full knowledge of what happened, we will take action if necessary.”

Meanwhile, US media has reported that prosecutors in New York served the company with a subpoena there shortly before its closure.

Prior to Mt.Gox’s suspension, what appeared to be a leaked document from the Tokyo-based platform was published online, claiming a security fault allowed hackers to steal 744,408 Bitcoin, worth about $350m (£210m) at Monday’s trading prices.

The document claimed that as a result Mt.Gox was close to bankruptcy. Mt.Gox handled as much as 70 per cent of the global Bitcoin trade at its height.