US Court certifies forthcoming deposition of Mark Karpeles in Tokyo

Maria Nikolova

The deposition of MtGox’s principal Mark Karpeles is scheduled for November 5, 2019 at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

A lawsuit related to the collapse of Bitcoin exchange MtGox continues at the Illinois Northern District Court. The action brought by one of MtGox’s US customer – Gregory Greene, now focuses on the discovery process, and deposition taking in particular.

On September 17, 2019, the Honorable Gary Feinerman granted a motion for order certifying deposition of Mark Karpeles in Tokyo.

The Court order certifies the forthcoming deposition of Mark Karpeles on November 5, 2019 at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan and appoints (i) his counsel, Rafey S. Balabanian, Benjamin S. Thomassen, and J. Aaron Lawson, (ii) Mark Karpeles’s counsel, Bevin Brennan and Albert A. Ciardi III, and (iii) Plaintiff’s retained court reporter, Lisa Barrett, to participate in said deposition. Karpeles did not contest the order.

Over the last several months, the parties in the case brought by Gregory Greene have worked to schedule Karpeles’s deposition in Japan. Due to the restrictions imposed by the treaty between the United States and Japan, all depositions taken in Japan must take place at either the US Embassy in Tokyo or the US Embassy in Osaka. The treaty does not allow for video or telephonic depositions. As a result of these and other restrictions, the Embassy deposition rooms are subject to very limited availability and must, at minimum, be booked six weeks in advance.

The plaintiffs in the case seek on behalf of a putative class to hold Mark Karpeles, Mt. Gox’s principal, liable for financial losses allegedly arising from the exchange’s collapse. The plaintiffs are bringing state law claims that sound in conversion/trespass to chattels, negligence, and consumer fraud. Their complaint alleges that Karpeles intentionally misrepresented the security and stability of the Mt. Gox exchange and that his negligent or intentional failures in designing and operating the exchange allowed the loss of the plaintiffs’ assets. On behalf of a putative class, the plaintiffs seek actual, statutory, and punitive damages, along with prejudgment interest and attorney fees.

Let’s recall that, in March 2019, the Illinois Northern District Court denied a motion to dismiss brought by Mark Karpeles. In denying Karpeles’ motion to dismiss, Judge Gary Feinerman noted that Greene’s contacts with the exchange were not random, isolated, or fortuitous, but rather the product of Mt. Gox’s virtual presence in Illinois, as some 7,056, or about 1.5%, of the addresses associated with Mt. Gox accounts came from Illinois.

The Court has found that, even if the Illinois market was “simply one among many”, a place of no particular interest to him, Karpeles purposefully availed himself of that market by operating an exchange that generated thousands of Illinois accounts and by purporting to safeguard the assets of Greene and the other Illinois users.

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