Prosecutors in Montenegro charged Terra co-founder Do Kwon on Thursday with making and using a false passport and other identification documents in his attempt to fly to Dubai last month from the Balkan nation’s capital, according to an indictment filed with the Montenegrin Basic Court.
The prosecution may delay efforts by US and South Korean authorities to extradite Kwon, who has been charged with multiple fraud charges in each nation for his alleged role in the $60 billion collapse of the Terra blockchain network last May.
Kwon, once hailed as the “Crypto King” for his outsized ambition to build a rival to Ethereum, had been on the run from Interpol for months before his arrest on the tarmac of Podgorica Airport in Montenegro on March 23. He was allegedly trying to travel on a leased private jet with a fake Costa Rican passport.
Last week, DL News reported that Han Chang-Joon, Kwon’s associate and travelling companion, had purchased a $2.2 million apartment in Belgrade in September. The two men had apparently holed up in the luxe flat for months and even formed a new company in Serbia under Kwon’s real name.
Serbian prosecutors seized the flat last Friday after DL News published its report. Han is also wanted by South Korea on financial fraud charges.
The two men slipped into neighbouring Montenegro earlier this year with an eye on winging away to Dubai, the crypto-friendly metropolis on the Persian Gulf. Now Kwon and Han will begin a long wait behind bars as their case unfolds in the Montenegrin legal system.
After the pair’s arrest, a court initially ordered that Kwon and Han be held for 30 days. On Thursday, Haris Šabotić, a prosecutor with the State Prosecution office, said he had asked the court to extend their detention.
“After the decision on the extension of detention by the court, the public will be informed about all available information regarding this case,” Maja Kosovic, a spokesperson for the court, said in a statement sent to DL News.
On April 21, the Basic Court in Podgorica extended the detention of the defendants for 30 more days and scheduled a trial on the false documents charges to commence on May 11.
NOW READ: EXCLUSIVE: Police seize $2.2m Belgrade apartment where Do Kwon hid during six-month manhunt
If convicted of the false document charges, the two South Korean natives face prison sentences of three months to five years.
Their lawyer in Montenegro, Branko Anđelić, didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment.
Updated on April 25 to report the trial date and 30 day detention extension.