Crypto crasher Do Kwon's extradition approved, but destination is unclear

Hey Google, are the jails nicer in South Korea or the US?

Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon – a wanted man in both South Korea and the United States – will soon face extradition from Montenegro after a court gave approval for his removal.

The High Court in Podgorica last Friday announced it had "determined that the legal requirements for the extradition of the accused KDH have been met, at the request of South Korea and the United States of America."

Which country he goes to remains a mystery. The court said Do Kwon has given consent to be extradited to South Korea under a shortened procedure, but the decision about his destination will be made by Montenegro's minister of justice.

The alleged crypto crook was found in Montenegro in March 2023, after using fake passports to enter the Balkan nation. His South Korean passport was cancelled more than five months prior.

Kwon's whereabouts remained unknown after he left Singapore in September 2022. He repeatedly claimed he was not on the run even though at that time, South Korea had issued a warrant for his arrest over violations of the nation's capital markets law. Kwon was also the subject of an Interpol Red Notice.

Terraform Labs promised investors that its so-called "stablecoin" Terra USD and similar Luna tokens were safe investments that would not crash. That, however, was proven untrue when the Labs' collapse created a $40 billion fiscal crater and set off a chain reaction in the industry that was nicknamed a "crypto winter."

After Kwon's arrest at the Montenegro airport, the US District Court in Manhattan filed an eight-count indictment that included conspiracy to defraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to engage in market manipulation.

The fugitive and his startup were already facing civil charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Terraform Labs attempted to have the case dismissed, but in August 2023, a Manhattan judge denied that request. Kwon and his buddies are charged with "orchestrating a multi-billion-dollar crypto asset securities fraud."

Terraform Labs has pledged to "continue to fight" the SEC allegations. ®

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