Sale of Mt. Gox-related Bitcoins.com halted after court order

Mt. Gox CEO Karpeles said he is looking into other options for the sale

The sale of the domain Bitcoins.com, affiliated with Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, has been halted after a U.S. court order, according to the auction house.

"This lot has been withdrawn from this auction. Bids are no longer accepted and previous bids are cancelled," U.S.-based Heritage Auctions wrote on its website.

The move follows a restraining order issued Tuesday by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle that effectively prevented the sale.

Responding to a motion by Bitcoin startup company CoinLab, the court ordered Mt. Gox parent company Tibanne, which is led by Karpeles and owns Bitcoins.com, to preserve and account for all its assets. The duration of the restraining order is 14 days.

CoinLab sued Mt. Gox in May 2013, alleging breach of contract over a partnership the two companies had formed. Mt. Gox later countersued CoinLab.

Tokyo-based Tibanne has been in the spotlight recently because of the failure in February of Mt. Gox, once the world's largest platform for trading bitcoins. It has been under a liquidation order by the Tokyo District Court, where it filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 28 with liabilities of ¥6.5 billion (US$63.6 million).

"The sale of Bitcoins.com was done with the approval of the bankruptcy court," Karpeles wrote in an email in response to the move by Heritage Auctions. "We are currently looking into options."

Selling Bitcoins.com, a site that provided information about the digital currency, was slated for July 24, and expected to raise up to $750,000. The funds were expected to provide some relief to investors who lost bitcoins in the Mt. Gox collapse.

At a meeting for Mt. Gox creditors in Tokyo on Wednesday, bankruptcy trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi said he is looking for a company that could take over Mt. Gox.

"I do sincerely hope a sponsor will be taking over -- that would be the best for all creditors," Karpeles wrote in an email Wednesday. "Myself and Tibanne will be doing our best to make this possible and overall work toward recovering more funds and Bitcoins."

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