Last month, early-adopting bitcoin payment processor OKPay was ordered by a British Virgin Islands court to surrender $6,014,910 in held customer deposits to defunct bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox. OKPay had hoped to return these funds directly to customers, but legal challenges by Mt.Gox’s Trustee Fund have held the funds in a “limbo” within Mt.Gox’s OKPay account for the better part of a year. The move has been very poorly received by OKPay’s Mt.Gox-using customers, some of whom are now considering a class-action suit, as the company had claimed that the funds would be returned.
Speaking with CoinDesk about the move, OKPay CEO Konstantin Romanovsky said that his company was left with no choice but to surrender the funds.
Initially, we fought for the right to return the money directly to customers, but Mt Gox forbade us to do so. We reached the court, which eventually ordered us to pay the money [into the] Mt Gox Trustee Fund, and not to send money back to customers. As a result, we have fulfilled the court’s decision in the BVI and recently sent money […] We understand that for our business’ overall image it would be better if we could send money back to them… But we had no other choice, and the decision of the court is already an undeniable factor.”
The impact of the settlement on the overall Mt.Gox debts isn’t known, although it is unlikely that the OKPay customer funds will be used to settle any outstanding debts any time soon. The funds will mostly likely go towards settling Mt.Gox’s largest corporate debts and pay for current litigation. The earliest former Mt.Gox customers will see relief is in September of 2015.