Do Kwon’s fate remains uncertain as Korea, US seek his extradition

 Montenegrin police officers escort Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon in Montenegro's capital Podgorica on March 24, 2023. AP-Yonhap

The fate of Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon remains undetermined, as both Korea and the U.S. seek his extradition to their territories.After a Montenegrin high court’s unexpected decision on Thursday to return Kwon to his native country, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) declared its firm determination to continue seeking Kwon’s extradition to have him face charges related to the $40 billion collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin in 2022.“The United States continues to seek Kwon’s extradition in accordance with relevant international and bilateral agreements and Montenegrin law. The United States appreciates the cooperation of the Montenegrin authorities in ensuring that all individuals are subject to the rule of law,” the U.S. DOJ said in a statement on Thursday.

Just two weeks after the high court in Podgorica decided to extradite Kwon to the U.S., where he faces eight criminal charges and civil cases related to cryptocurrency fraud, the appeals court in Montenegro overturned the high court’s ruling. The appeals court cited “significant violations of the provisions of criminal procedure” as the reason for the reversal.The appellate court highlighted that Korea’s extradition request reached the Balkan country before that of the U.S. Korea initially submitted the request in English on Mar. 24 last year, followed by a resubmission in Montenegrin on Mar. 26. Conversely, the U.S. submitted its extradition claim on Mar. 27, which, notably, was not an extradition request but rather a provisional detention request.While a final decision regarding Kwon’s extradition lies with the Montenegrin minister of justice, the potential for an appeal by the Montenegrin prosecution cannot be discounted. Additionally, another judicial ruling may be issued by the Supreme Court of Montenegro, which, as the highest court, holds authority over the appeals court.

Meanwhile, victims in Korea are speaking out, advocating for Kwon’s extradition to the U.S. rather than Korea. They express concerns that a trial in his native country could be excessively prolonged and that sentences could be lenient.In an official statement released earlier on Friday, victims of the TerraUSD scam expressed that having Kwon serve a lifelong sentence in the U.S. could bring some solace to the victims, even though it might complicate compensation for domestic victims.”It is estimated that Kwon’s hidden assets exceed trillions of won. With such enormous funds, he intends to hire a top-tier legal team with astronomical fees domestically to obtain immunity for cryptocurrency fraud crimes,” the statement reads.They also highlighted that the ongoing deliberations in the Korean court regarding the nature of cryptocurrency assets, particularly whether they should be viewed as securities, are anticipated to work in Kwon’s favor.”As Korea still lacks clear regulations for the punishment of cryptocurrency fraud crimes, a potentially heavy sentence at the first trial could significantly be reduced at appellate or supreme court. Since when did our country become lenient towards cryptocurrency fraudsters,” the victims emphasized, adding that he should be extradited 스포츠토토존 to the U.S. which is home to the largest number of victims of Kwon’s cryptocurrency scam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *