UPDATED 00:12 EDT / JANUARY 16 2015


Ross Ulbricht lawyer claims Mt Gox’s Mark Karpeles is Dread Pirate Roberts at Silk Road trial

small_199769657Lawyers representing alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht have accused disgraced former Mt Gox CEO Mark Karpeles of being Dread Pirate Roberts, the operator and owner of Silk Road.

As we reported January 13th, the defense strategy for Ulbricht, who is facing charges of of conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking, conspiring to commit computer hacking and conspiring to commit money laundering, is one where they are claiming that Ulbricht never ran the site, versus having set it up.

The new claim comes via evidence from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS,) who believed at least during one period of time that Karpeles was the mastermind behind the notorious black market.

In cross examination of Jared DerYeghiayan, the DHS agent who investigated Silk Road, Ulbricht’s defense attorney Joshua Dratel read emails authored by DerYeghiayan that said DHS had “a wealth of evidence to prove that [Karpeles] is Dread Pirate Roberts” Motherload reported.

“[Silk Road] would be a device for leveraging the value of Bitcoin, and if he could create a site independent of Bitcoin, you could control the value of Bitcoin” another email said.

What exactly the “wealth of evidence” is was not disclosed, and the case has been adjourned to give the prosecution time to deal with the new evidence.

Karpeles has denied the claim, telling Motherboard in an email that he wasn’t Dread Pirate Roberts.

“This is probably going to be disappointing for you, but I am not Dread Pirate Roberts…I have nothing to do with Silk Road and do not condone what has been happening there. I believe Bitcoin (and its underlying technology) is not meant to help people evade the law, but to improve everyone’s way of life by offering never thought before possibilities.”

It’s difficult to say who’s right here; where as it’s clear that it’s a ploy by Ulbricht’s defense, Karpeles is hardly beyond reproach either. Mt. Gox under Karpeles leadership lost $620 million worth of Bitcoin in what Japanese police believe was an inside job. At the very least Karpeles is an inept, bumbling fool, and at worst a criminal mastermind.

The trial will resume next week.

photo credit: 10b travelling via photopin cc

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