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Terra co-founder Do Kwon to be extradited

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The lengthy legal process continues against Kwon Do-hyeong, also known as Do Kwon, the disgraced founder of collapsed crypto company Terraform Labs.

Reuters reported that a court in Montenegro said Friday it had approved Do Kwon’s extradition from the Balkan state.

But it is unclear at the time of writing which country Do Kwon will be extradited to, as both South Korea and the United States have called for his arrestSouth Korea being the first to issue an international arrest warrant.

On the run

The affair began in 2022, when Do Kwon left South Korea to move to Singapore with his family following the affair. collapse of its $40 billion digital assets project – which included the stablecoin Terra and its sister token Luna.

Terraform had issued the TerraUSD stablecoin, intended to maintain a 1:1 peg to the US dollar.

Nearly 250,000 people are believed to have invested in Terraform Labs coins, and blockchain analytics firm Elliptic estimated that investors in TerraUSD and Luna lost around $42 billion.

The reclusive Kwon insisted that neither he nor his company made any money from the accident, but it didn’t really help his cause.

He is known for his caustic remarks towards detractors and told a YouTube crypto channel a week before TerraUSD’s demise: “95% (of coins) are going to die – but there’s also entertainment in watching businesses die.”

Just before the implosion, he told his Twitter followers: “I like chaos.”

But on May 13, 2022, he tweeted: “I am heartbroken by the pain my invention has caused you all. »

After South Korea issues international arrest warrantand Interpol also issued a “red notice” When he was arrested, Do Kwon was nowhere to be found.

Do Kwon had denied he was hiding or on the run, but he did not reveal his whereabouts after Singapore police were unable to locate him.

In December 2022, South Korean police said they believed Do Kwon was hiding in Serbiaafter traveling via Dubai to an unknown country after leaving Singapore.

Then in February 2023, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “indicted Singapore-based Terraform Labs PTE Ltd and Do Hyeong Kwon with the orchestration of a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud.

Arrest in Montenegro

In March 2023 Do Kwon was arrested in Podgorica, the capital of the Balkan country of Montenegro. Shortly after, South Korea and the United States requested his extradition to their respective jurisdictions.

Kwon and a second person identified as Han Chang-joon, a former finance executive at Terraform Labs, were arrested while trying to board a flight to Dubai.

Montenegrin police had charged the two suspects with falsification of official documents after finding falsified Costa Rican passports, a separate set of Belgian passports, laptops and other devices in their luggage.

In May, a higher court in Montenegro canceled a deposit of 800,000 euros for Do Kwon due to theft risk concerns.

Then, in June, Do Kwon and Han Chang-joon were found guilty of forging official documents, and both were sentenced. sentenced to four months in prison.

Kwon and Han pleaded not guilty at their first court hearing in May, but Do Kwon later dropped his request to verify the authenticity of the Costa Rican passports after Interpol confirmed they were fake.

Meanwhile, in August, a U.S. federal judge ruled that a fraud lawsuit by the SEC against cryptocurrency issuer Terraform Labs and its founder Do Kwon could move forward, rejecting the company’s motion to dismiss it.

Extradition approved

Reuters reported that the High Court in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital, approved Do Kwon’s extradition on Friday.

The court’s decision means it is now up to a government minister to decide whether it will be handed over to South Korea or the United States.

It’s worth noting that Terraform Labs said in July that it would fight the “misguided and deeply flawed” US allegations.

The High Court, however, said Do Kwon had agreed to be extradited to South Korea under an abbreviated procedure, but that the justice minister would have the final say since several states had requested his surrender.

The decision will be made after Do Kwon completes his prison sentence for document forgery, the court said.

Do Kwon’s lawyer in Podgorica was not immediately available for comment, Reuters reported.

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