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US and South Korea request extradition of Terra co-founder Do Kwon

US and South Korea request extradition of Terra co-founder Do Kwon

Authorities from both the United States and South Korea have made efforts to have Terra co-founder Do Kwon extradited to their respective countries following his arrest in Montenegro.

At a March 29 press conference, Montenegro’s Justice Minister Marko Kovac said the United States made diplomatic efforts to ask Kwon be handed over, while South Korean officials have requested extradition. Kovac made the announcement following Kwon’s arrest at Montenegro’s Podgorica airport on March 23, adding the Terra co-founder’s detainment had been extended to 30 days.

“When we receive several extradition requests it’s based on several factors — the severity of the offense, the location and the time, and the order that we received the request and several other factors,” said Kovac through an interpreter.

Kovac said decisions regarding extradition and custody of Kwon will go to Montenegro’s high court. According to the justice minister, the Terra co-founder used forged identification documents while in Montenegro and may serve time in the country related to those charges if convicted before any extradition is granted.

Kwon’s whereabouts had largely been unknown following the collapse of Terra in May 2022, though he was often active on his Twitter account and said he was making “zero effort to hide” in September. In February, reports suggested that Kwon may have traveled to Serbia — the European country borders Montenegro to the north — after Interpol issued a Red Notice for his provisional arrest.

A South Korean citizen, Kwon would likely face prosecution in his home country, where Terraform Labs was headquartered and authorities have been targeting individuals involved in the collapse of the platform. At the time of publication, the whereabouts of Terra co-founder Daniel Shin were unknown, but Kwon’s associate Han Chang-Joon was also detained in Montenegro.

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It’s unclear which country, if any, would be the most likely to be granted extradition of Kwon. The situation echoes attempts by the United States to gain custody of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who was in the Bahamas at the time of the exchange’s collapse.

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This is a developing story, and further information will be added as it becomes available.