Mt. Gox Asset Freeze Is Sought by Bitcoin Holder in Suit

Mt. Gox, the bankrupt Bitcoin exchange, should have its U.S. assets immediately frozen, Illinois resident Gregory Greene said in a court filing after suing on behalf of holders of the digital currency.

Mt. Gox last month said 750,000 customer Bitcoins and 100,000 of its own were missing and were probably stolen.

The Tokyo-based exchange filed for bankruptcy in a Japanese court on Feb. 28, at about the same time it was sued by Greene for misappropriation and fraud in U.S. court in Chicago.

“Mt. Gox has shuttered its operations while holding on to the class member’s property —- their Bitcoins and fiat currency -- and should be made to return that property without further delay,” Greene said in a filing yesterday requesting the asset freeze.

“Absent such relief, Mt. Gox’s victims will be required to watch as defendants abscond with their remaining bitcoins and money without any hope of recourse,” he said. Greene asked for a March 11 hearing before U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman.

Named as defendants in the U.S. suit filed Feb. 27 are Mt. Gox, two corporate affiliates and their common principal, Mark Karpeles.

No attorneys have filed papers with the court indicating they’re representing him or his companies. Karpeles didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment.

Trading Cards

Mt. Gox, which started as a marketplace for illustrated trading cards used to play the game “Magic: The Gathering,” is under investigation by prosecutors and regulators examining the use of the digital currency.

Upon filing for bankruptcy, Mt. Gox KK said its debt exceeded its assets by 2.7 billion yen ($26.4 million).

Greene, in his filing yesterday, said he’s also seeking an order imposing a constructive trust on Mt. Gox assets and their ultimate repatriation to him and the members of his two proposed classes of U.S. claimants: those who traded in bitcoins and those who had money on deposit at the exchange.

The case is Greene v. Mt. Gox Inc., 14-cv-01437, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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