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Japan finance minister: Gathering facts on bitcoin, unsure whether crime involved

Kolin Burges, a self-styled cryptocurrency trader and former software engineer from London, holds a placard to protest against Mt. Gox, in f
Kolin Burges, a self-styled cryptocurrency trader and former software engineer from London, holds a placard to protest against Mt. Gox, in f

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that the government is still trying to figure out what has led to the collapse of the Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and is not sure whether crime is involved.

"We still have not had a clear grasp of the situation," Aso said in response to a reporter's question after a cabinet meeting. "(We) don't know if it was a crime or just a bankruptcy."

Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on Friday, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual currency due to hacking into its faulty computer system.

(Corrects quote in paragraph 2 to say "bankruptcy", not "theft")

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Dominic Lau)

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