Mt. Gox remains an infamous black mark on the history of the cryptocurrency space, despite it no longer even holding the title of the biggest theft ever. One reason it remains in the memory is that creditors of the defunct exchange are still waiting for the Japanese courts to resolve the fate of their money.
However, a recent turn of events could see these creditors receive some reprieve. A Moscow-based law firm believes they can get a portion of the money back to the creditors after identifying Russian nationals who received bitcoin stolen in the 2014 hack.
According to Coindesk, ZP Legal contacted those who were hacked earlier this year, offering an opportunity to recover almost a quarter of the missing 850,000 Bitcoins stolen in the 2014 hack. Back then, the coins were worth more than $450 million, but today, they would top a staggering $8.5 billion.
ZP’s proposition is to take legal action against the Russian nationals they have identified who they believe holds an estimated 170,000 to 200,000 of these coins, currently worth $1.7 billion to $2 billion.
“Our plan is to represent the Mt.Gox creditors and help them report to Russian law enforcement so that the investigators could establish the connection between the stolen funds from Mt Gox, the operations of BTC-e and WEX, using Vinnik’s case,” Alexander Zheleznikov, the managing partner of ZP Legal said.
“If our assumptions of those connections are correct, the thieves will ultimately come forward and plead guilty, and to reduce the punishment, they will offer to recover a part of the funds. If they don’t, they will be deemed guilty by law enforcement, and then there will be a chance to sue them for damages based on the criminal case.”
This is a bold claim from the legal service, but one that potentially holds a lot of water- if their assumptions of the benefactors are correct. The regulation and law enforcement around cryptocurrencies has reached new heights and has become entirely normalized; therefore, those who took on these illegal funds could be in line to face harsh retribution if proven guilty.
That being said, if ZP can broker a deal with them to give up the funds for a reduced sentence, this will likely be taken and the nightmare of the Mt.Gox hack may finally be put to rest.