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Bitcoin can't be owned, says Japanese court, as Karpeles sweats in cell

Losses from Mt Gox incident can't be claimed back, Tokyo beak tells miffed plaintiff

By Alexander J Martin, 7 Aug 2015

A man seeking repayment for Bitcoin lost in the Mt Gox incident has seen his lawsuit dismissed in a Tokyo District Court, with the judge ruling that the gumblecash is "not subject to ownership" claims.

A resident of Kyoto, the plaintiff has stated that he had 458 Bitcoin, contentiously valued at about ¥31m (£160,000), which were stored with the exchange and subsequently lost, reported the Japan Times.

Earlier this month, the Mt Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles, was arrested as part of a police investigation into the exchange's collapse, which led to the loss of "hundreds of millions of dollars" worth of Bitcoin.

The French-born CEO allegedly inflated his personal account by manipulating virtual currency data, according to the Japan Times.

Karpeles denied criminal doings in a statement delivered by his lawyer, the BBC reported.

Judge Masumi Kurachi – who presided over the plaintiff's self-represented claim – stated that the Japanese Civil Code only envisaged proprietorship for tangible entities.

According to the Japan Times, the judge's position is that "it is evident Bitcoins do not possess the properties of tangible entities and acknowledged that they also do not offer exclusive control, because transactions between users are structured in such a way that calls for the involvement of a third party". ®

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