- Former Terra CEO and associate convicted of using bogus Costa Rica passports in March in attempt to leave for Dubai.
- Sentences will be served as US and South Korean authorities press extradition for fraud charges connected to Terra’s collapse in 2022.
The court, which also convicted Han Chang-Joon, Kwon’s associate, of the same crime, sentenced the two men to prison terms of four months. Local news media gathered at the courthouse in in Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, to follow the latest developments in a case that has made headlines for months.
On Friday, Kwon pleaded not guilty and argued he bought the Costa Rican passport through an agency in Singapore. He said he believed that was a legitimate “golden passport” available to affluent applicants who fast track their way to citizenship in certain nations.
Yet the court rejected that explanation.
Kwon, the former CEO of Terra, and Han were on the run from authorities for six months before finally being arrested in the VIP lounge of Podgorica Airport in March. A border guard found their documents “suspicious” and sounded the alarm.
Kwon is wanted by US prosecutors on fraud charges stemming from the $60 billion collapse of Terra last May. South Korean authorities want to try Kwon and Han on similar charges. Even as the pair serve time on the Montenegrin passport conviction, they are also facing extradition to the two nations.
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That process is only beginning to commence. In a news conference after the hearing, Goran Rodic, Kwon’s local lawyer, said it was too early to tell whether they would be extradited.