U.S. judicial authorities have sought cooperation from Japanese law enforcement in an investigation into alleged fraud at failed bitcoin exchange operator Mt. Gox, sources revealed Saturday.
The approach came last spring from federal prosecutors in New York who opened a probe into allegations about illegal bitcoin withdrawals from the Tokyo-based exchange soon after its collapse in February, Japanese investigative sources said.
At that time, Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department was gathering information about the case, in which at least 27,000 bitcoins believed to be worth some ¥1.6 billion in total were illegally withdrawn in a scheme that utilized a software bug in Mt. Gox’s system.
The MPD launched a full-fledged investigation into the case in late July.
Japanese authorities are expected to provide information to U.S. authorities based on the bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance in crime matters, the sources said.
The American side is likely to seek such information as computer logs voluntarily submitted by Mt. Gox to the MPD, statements made by Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles in voluntary questioning with the police, and the whereabouts of certain parties, the sources said.
As Internet Protocol addresses in the United States were used to illegally access the Mt. Gox system, the Japanese side is expected to seek bilateral cooperation to help identify where this access originated.