Mark Karpeles, former CEO of bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, denied claims that he had been running the notorious online black market Silk Road, which was seized by the US authorities.
During the trial of Ross Ulbricht, who was accused by the federal authorities of running the website that sold drugs and weapons illegally under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, the defence alleged that Karpeles was the real culprit.
Ulbricht's lawyer Joshua Dratel pointed to Karpeles, saying "he set up Mr. Ulbricht."
During the cross-examination at the Manhattan federal court, Department of Homeland Security special agent Jared Deryeghiayan told jurors that he pursued Karpeles as the suspected owner and operator of Silk Road in 2012 and 2013.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Karpeles denied the accusations.
He separately released a statement, saying the defence is trying to take attention away from his client.
Read Karpeles' full statement below:
"This is probably going to be disappointing for you, but I am not Dread Pirate Roberts. The investigation reached that conclusion already - this is why I am not the one sitting during the Silk Road trial, and I can only feel defense attorney Joshua Dratel trying everything he can to point the attention away from his client.
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.
As for the silkroadmarket.org domain, it was registered by a KalyHost.com customer and paid in Bitcoins (KalyHost is a service of Tibanne that has been up since 2009)."
Sources close to the Department of Homeland Security told The Daily Beast that Karpeles has been eliminated as a suspect in the Silk Road case, and that he has been cooperating with the government.
However, they noted that they believe some of his clients were involved in running the website.