UPDATE 1-Japan's Mizuho in US, Canada suits over Mt. Gox bitcoin losses

Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:25am EDT
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* US class-action suit amended to add Mizuho as defendant

* Canada class action suit also targets Mizuho

* Bank was seeking to close Mt Gox account in January

By Tom Hals and Amanda Becker

March 14 (Reuters) - Mizuho Bank, one of Japan's largest lenders, has became ensnared in North American legal fallout from Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, which collapsed last month after losing nearly half a billion dollars worth of customers' digital currency.

Lawsuits in the United States and Canada represent a new legal front - and a deep-pocketed defendant - in the battle over Mt. Gox, which claims hackers stole huge amounts of its own and its customers' assets.

Mizuho, the core unit of Mizuho Financial Group Inc , Japan's second-biggest "megabank" by assets, was added as a defendant on Friday to an existing U.S. lawsuit against Mt. Gox for allegedly aiding in a fraud by providing banking services to the exchange.

Also on Friday, Mizuho was named in a class-action lawsuit in Canada against Mt. Gox, alleging a lengthy security breach at Mt. Gox resulted in "the pilfering of millions of dollars' worth of its users' bitcoins."

A Mizuho spokeswoman in Tokyo declined comment on Sunday on the lawsuits, filed in Chicago federal court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.   Continued...