Tokyo, Japan; 21, January 2015: Imagine discovering that you are the beneficiary of approximately 35,000 bitcoins with a value of roughly $34 million U.S. dollars but are prevented from withdrawing any of the money and later discover your bitcoins were stolen? That is exactly what happened to 3rd year law student, Roman Hossain as a customer of the now defunct Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox based in Tokyo, Japan.
A trustee of an international blind trust purchased Roman Hossain’s bitcoins in 2010 for approximately $35,000 with proceeds of a business Hossain was a partner in. Beginning in November of 2013, Roman Hossain attempted to withdraw the bitcoins at a market price of approximately $979 per coin, for a total value of over $34 million U.S. dollars. Despite being the beneficial owner of the bitcoins, Hossain’s withdrawal efforts were met with a grim fate. Mt. Gox, claimed they were frozen out of the U.S. banking system and blocked or delayed all U.S. based withdrawals. Shortly thereafter, Hossain discovered unauthorized withdrawals taking place within his account on Mt. Gox. Not only was this disturbing, but it was Mt. Gox who directed Hossain to file a police report with his local police department regarding his concerns.
After looking further into the situation, Hossain discovered that Mt. Gox claimed they had encountered a massive data breach and was now “missing” over $480 million in bitcoins belonging to its customers. To make matters worse, in April 2014, Mt. Gox began liquidation proceedings and filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States (Case No. 14-31229) and in Tokyo, Japan (Case No. Heisei24(hu) No.3830).
Initially, Hossain, who attends law school in San Diego, retained local legal counsel to represent him in the matter who in turn wrote to a Settlement Administrator as part of a Class Action lawsuit. However, since the bankruptcy proceeding was taking place in Texas, he was advised to hire counsel within the state. Upon doing so, it was discovered, because Mt. Gox entered into a Chapter 15 bankruptcy, that Hossain’s claim would need to be submitted within the Japanese bankruptcy courts. As a result, Hossain has since retained Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, one of the largest law firms based in Tokyo and considered one of the “Big Four” law firms in all of Japan to assist in submitting his claim. Upon further investigation of the case, the Japanese Metropolitan Police Department deemed the theft of bitcoins as a “partial inside job.”
With the constant stream of confusion and the apparent inability to hold Mt. Gox accountable for their actions, Hossain took it upon himself to begin utilizing his Masters in Business Administration degree and the education obtained in law school to carry out his own investigation. Hossain’s goal is to seek justice both civilly and criminally not only for himself, but also for all who have been wronged through the illegal mishandling of bitcoins within Mt. Gox. This “real-life” scenario is the perfect case study for a “lawyer in the making,” Roman Hossain.
For further information, please contact Derek Nunez at 1-302-298-0736
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