In a temporary order issued yesterday in Chicago by U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman, all U.S. assets held by both Mt.Gox and CEO Mark Karpeles are frozen for at least the next two weeks. Bloomberg reports that all “money and property belonging to the affiliate, its ultimate corporate parent, Tibanne KK, and principal Mark Karpeles” under U.S. jurisdiction are subject to the decision.
The decision comes as part of the lawsuit filed by Gregory Greene, which claims Mt.Gox lost user funds as a result of negligence and fraud. That case is unrelated to the recent bankruptcy filing by Mt.Gox, and was written with the intention of becoming a class-action suit. Greene claims to have lost $25,000 worth of Bitcoin when Mt.Gox went under, and given the international nature of the exchange and the murky nature of Mt.Gox’s finances and assets, the move to freeze assets was not unexpected.
It’s unclear, however, if Mt.Gox or Karpeles actually have U.S. assets that would be subject to the decision. Mt.Gox bank accounts, property and servers in the U.S. would certainly be subject to the order, but no ledger of these was part of the filing. According to Judge Feinerman:
It may turn out there are no such assets.”
Greene’s attorneys believe that Karpeles controls between $2.1 million and $5 million in assets in the U.S. A further court date on April 1 will determine the whether or not Mt.Gox’s bankruptcy protection filing will apply to the frozen assets.