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October 25, 2014

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Nakamoto hires lawyer in Newsweek bitcoin fight

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Damian Dovarganes / AP

Dorian S. Nakamoto listens during an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES — The man Newsweek claimed is the creator of bitcoin has hired a lawyer in an attempt to clear his name, repeating a denial he made to The Associated Press more than a week ago that he has never had anything to do with the digital currency.

In a statement issued by his lawyer, Ethan Kirschner, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto said Monday that he did not "create, invent or otherwise work on" bitcoin. In the magazine's return to print this month after more than a year, Newsweek's cover story declared Nakamoto the "face behind bitcoin."

Nakamoto, 64, did not say whether he plans to sue the magazine.

Nakamoto repeated that he had not heard of bitcoin until his son told him a reporter asked about it in mid-February. He said he has not been able to find steady work for 10 years and had cancelled his Internet service last year "due to severe financial distress."

Nakamoto added that he is trying to recover from prostate surgery in 2012 and a stroke he suffered last October.

"My prospects for gainful employment has been harmed because of Newsweek's article," he said in the statement. "Newsweek's false report has been the source of a great deal of confusion and stress for myself, my 93-year-old mother, my siblings, and their families."

Newsweek said in a statement that it "has not received any statement or letter from either Mr. Nakamoto or his legal counsel. If and when we do, we will respond as necessary."

On March 6, the day Newsweek posted its story online, about a dozen journalists descended on the home where Nakamoto lives with his mother in Temple City, Calif. Nakamoto denied ever being involved with bitcoin multiple times, including during an exclusive two-hour interview with the AP in which he discussed his life, career, family and addressed the assertions in Newsweek's piece.

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