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Man named by Newsweek issues denial on Bitcoin claim

Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, the man identified by Newsweek magazine as the founder of Bitcoin, has hired a lawyer and issued a written statement Monday denying any involvement with the digital currency.

“I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin,” Nakamoto said. “I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.” The statement was published through his lawyer, Ethan D. Kirschner.

“This firm has been retained by Dorian S. Nakamoto, the subject of the recent Newsweek cover story on Bitcoin,” said Kirschner, an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. “He has issued the attached prepared statement. No further comment will be made by Mr. Nakamoto or the firm.”

Newsweek, which has vigorously defended its reporting, responded in a brief statement saying it had “not received any statement or letter from either Nakamoto or his legal counsel. If and when we do, we will respond as necessary.”

Nakamoto, 64, of Temple City, Calif., said he heard the term Bitcoin from his son only in February after the Newsweek reporter, Leah McGrath Goodman, contacted the son about her article.

After not publishing a print edition for more than a year, Newsweek, under new ownership, featured an article on its cover earlier this month reporting that it had uncovered the mysterious founder of the digital currency. Within hours of publication, the story was cast into doubt. Nakamoto, a reclusive train collector, gave a two-hour interview to The Associated Press saying that the account was incorrect.

Newsweek’s editor-in-chief, Jim Impoco, defended the story immediately after its publication.

“We are absolutely standing by this,” he said in a phone interview at the time. “It was an exhaustive investigation.”

In the statement, which was earlier reported by Felix Salmon of Reuters on his Twitter feed, Nakamoto discussed his work experience, explaining that while he had technology skills, he had no involvement with Bitcoin.

—Peter Lattman, The New York Times

For families waiting for answers on missing flight, only more questions

BEIJING — The families gathered in the ballroom at the Lido Hotel wanted answers. Ten days before, a jet carrying their loved ones had disappeared, and for 10 days the airline executives who appeared before them had different, sometimes contradictory stories.

“What you say today is different from what you said yesterday,” screamed one man who had waited along with hundreds of other relatives, desperate for any morsel of news. “How can you still not know after so many days?”

As the world puzzles over the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished on its way to Beijing on March 8, the families of the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777 jet have been stuck in a netherworld between anger and grief, clinging to the remotest hope that their relatives might still be alive as the authorities have offered conflicting and confounding explanations of what happened to the plane.

The plane went down in the Gulf of Thailand. No, it might have ended up much farther west, in the Strait of Malacca; the military somehow missed seeing it on their radar. No, actually it flew onward for much longer — up to eight hours, in fact. And one or more of the 239 people on the plane was in control of the jet the entire time. And now a satellite signal shows that it could be almost anywhere in a broad arc stretching from the Himalayas to Antarctica.

Even the news that the plane appeared to have been intentionally diverted was welcomed as a positive development. A hijacking, no matter how disturbing, still left some hope that the passengers were still alive.

—Edward Wong, The New York Times