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S. Korean prosecutors seek repatriation of Terraform's Do Kwon

By Park Jun-hee

Published : March 24, 2023 - 15:19

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korean prosecutors said Friday that they would seek the extradition of Do Kwon, the wanted co-founder of Terraform Labs, via the Ministry of Justice, hours after he was arrested in Montenegro.

The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office said it would initiate a repatriation request to the Montenegrin authorities to transfer him to Korea. Kwon was arrested at Podgorica Airport on Thursday before boarding a flight. His identity was confirmed through a fingerprint comparison.

Kwon’s confidant, only identified by his surname of Han, the former CEO of fintech firm Chai Corp., has also been arrested on charges of using the company’s customer information and funds to promote Luna.

The Bloomberg news agency also reported that federal prosecutors in New York indicted the disgraced entrepreneur on eight charges on the same day, making his repatriation unclear as he could be handed over to the United States. Under international law, repatriation is at the discretion of Montenegro, meaning it has to obligate one country to arrest and return the wanted individual.

The Korean prosecution said it would prepare for the necessary procedures required by Montenegro.

Terraform Labs has been under investigation for allegedly breaching the Capital Markets Act by defrauding investors in crypto schemes and triggering a market breakdown after investors filed complaints against Kwon in May. Kwon is also suspected of pocketing illegal profits by selling Terra’s Luna tokens at a high price.

The Korean authorities have intensified efforts to arrest the crypto fugitive since he left for Singapore last April.

In September 2022, Korea asked the International Criminal Police Organization to issue a “red notice,” a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and arrest a person pending extradition across the agency’s 195 member nations.

In January this year, Korean prosecutors sought an emergency extradition arrest request -- made for criminals who need to be immediately arrested -- in Serbia, where he was last spotted.

Kwon denied his fraud crimes in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year.