MtGox’s disappearance now being investigated by Japanese authorities

MtGox, one of the largest players in the Bitcoin arena, appears to be in further hot water, following the exchange disappearing offline yesterday amid news of the theft of £230 million worth of Bitcoins.

The Bitcoin exchange is apparently now being investigated by authorities in Japan (where MtGox is based) and also in America.

Yesterday, MtGox posted a brief statement on its website explaining that the “decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users.”

It further added to that today, with CEO Mark Karpeles stating: “As there is a lot of speculation regarding MtGox and its future, I would like to use this opportunity to reassure everyone that I am still in Japan, and working very hard with the support of different parties to find a solution to our recent issues.”

The Independent reports that Yoshihida Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, has said that the Japanese police, ministry of finance, and financial watchdog are all scrutinising the MtGox affair. He noted: “Once we have full knowledge of what happened, we will take action if necessary.”

New York-based prosecutors also reportedly issued a subpoena just before the company vanished offline.

To say things aren’t looking good for MtGox is an understatement. As the leaked document made clear yesterday: “The reality is that MtGox can go bankrupt at any moment.”

The affair is bound to hit confidence in the virtual currency – and all virtual currencies, for the matter, given the large amount of Bitcoin alternatives (such as Litecoin) which have come into being in recent times.