Mt. Gox founder Mark Karpelès said he would not come to the U.S. later this week judge to answer questions about the Japanese bitcoin exchange's U.S. bankruptcy case, Mt. Gox lawyers told a federal judge on Monday.
Mt. Gox's bankruptcy lawyers said that Mr. Karpelès is "not willing to travel to the U.S.," despite an order from Bankruptcy Judge Stacey Jernigan for him to answer questions under oath on Thursday from lawyers who represent customers with frozen bitcoin accounts.
In court papers, Mr. Karpelès's
lawyers blamed a conflict: he
recently received a subpoena to appear on Friday in front of the U.S. Department of Treasury's
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an anti-money-laundering division.
The division has closely watched virtual currencies like bitcoin and issued guidance on them about a year ago.
Mr. Karpelès' lawyer said the subpoena from Treasury officials "did not specify topics for discussion."
"Until such time as counsel is retained and has an opportunity to 'get up to speed' and advise Mr. Karpelès
[on the Treasury subpoena], he
is not willing to travel to the U.S.," lawyers for Mt. Gox
said in documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas.
hasn't been charged with a crime.
Last year, special agents from the Department of Homeland Security seized more than $5.1 million from accounts belonging to Mt. Gox
under a federal money laundering statute.
According to the statute, violators can be punished with fines, imprisonment or both.
Mr. Karpelès lives in Japan, where administrators for the company's Japanese bankruptcy case are looking for some of the roughly 550,000 bitcoins that the company lost earlier this year.
During a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing earlier this month, Judge Jernigan said that Mr. Karpelès "has made himself a fact witness by signing [court papers and] by holding himself out to this court and the world as the...CEO or sole officer of Mt. Gox."
also controls a Japanese entity that owns 88% of Mt. Gox, according to court papers.
It is unclear how Mr. Karpelès's
decision could affect the U.S. bankruptcy case, which hasn't yet secured an official nod from a judge.