Where in the world is Terraform Labs' alleged crypto-crasher Do Kwon?
South Korean prosecutor believes he is on the run from charges laid over Luna stablecoin crash
Do Kwon, founder of troubled cryptocurrency company Terraform Labs and a wanted man in Korea, took to Twitter over the weekend to deny that he was "on the run" and claim he is fully cooperating with authorities probing the crypto collapses in which he had a hand.
Kwon's tweet came in response to statements reportedly issued over the weekend by Singapore police, which claimed he has left the city state where he resided and Terraform Labs was headquartered.
That statement came after South Korea last week issued a warrant for his arrest alleging Kwon and five others had violated the nation's capital markets law.
I am not “on the run” or anything similar - for any government agency that has shown interest to communicate, we are in full cooperation and we don’t have anything to hide— Do Kwon 🌕 (@stablekwon) September 17, 2022
In the five-tweet thread, Kwon also stated:
We are in the process of defending ourselves in multiple jurisdictions – we have held ourselves to an extremely high bar of integrity, and look forward to clarifying the truth over the next few months.
Prosecutors reportedly stated on Sunday they were in the process of locating and apprehending Kwon, who allegedly did not cooperate with the investigations but also conveyed through his lawyer that he intended not to appear for questioning.
According to South Korean outlet Yonhap, prosecutors responded on Sunday that Kwon was "obviously on the run" when he flew to Singapore in late April and dissolved the branch of Terraform Labs in South Korea. The closure occurred days before the $40 billion mega crash of the company's so-called "stablecoin" system.
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Whatever the true nature of his tax affairs, Kwon presided over the May crash of the stablecoin he devised. That incident saw crypto-coin asset values plunge, leading to what has been labelled "crypto winter."
The stablecoin was purportedly un-crashable, as its value was pegged to the US dollar. That assertion ended up being far from the truth, as investors lost huge sums of money and one fan was left with this unfortunate permanent situation:
After the infamous crash and a failed attempt to launch a revamped coin in late May, Terraform Labs and Kwon stayed relatively quiet in their social media presence. Last week the company announced it had executed … a pretty new version of its website.
Reports have now emerged that South Korea has moved to have Kwon's passport revoked. If the passport is revoked, he will have two weeks to return to Seoul.
His current work visa to stay in Singapore, called an Employment Pass, expires on December 7, according to Singapore's Straits Times. An application to renew or apply for that visa is still pending.
The Straits Times also reported Kwon's application for a different type of visa targeted to foreign entrepreneurs, called an EntrePass, was rejected by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has repeatedly warned its residents not to invest in retail cryptocurrency. MAS board member Alvin Tan advised fortuitously last April that Singapore's business-friendly policies could create "reputational risks" when it comes to cryptocurrency companies.
Since the crypto winter began, MAS has distanced itself from such companies. MAS managing director Ravi Menon said at a media conference in July that Terraform Labs and associated reserve-holding non-profit Luna Foundation Guard is not regulated by the body and has never applied, nor sought exemption, for a license from MAS.
A few weeks earlier, MAS chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty promised to be "brutal and unrelentingly hard" on any dodgy crypto players. "We have no tolerance for any market bad behavior," said Mohanty. ®