Terra’s Do Kwon’s potential extradition to US delayed after court ruling

Terra’s Do Kwon’s potential extradition to US delayed after court ruling
South Korean crypto mogul Do Kwon's had his extradition ruling overturned this week. Credit: Boris Pejovic/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
  • Montenegro's court of appeals has overruled Do Kwon’s extradition.
  • That means the whole extradition process will be repeated in a retrial.
  • A previous decision had put the extradition decision in the hands of the country’s minister of justice.

Montenegro’s court of appeals has overruled a previous ruling that would have left it to the country’s minister of justice to decide if Do Kwon should be extradited to the United States or South Korea.

The ruling means that the case will be sent back to the courts for a retrial.

The former Terraform Labs CEO is wanted by prosecutors in the US and South Korea in connection to the $60 billion collapse of the Terra stablecoin ecosystem in 2022.

His lawyers had appealed a previous High Court ruling from December.

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The appeals court ruled that the previous decision was influenced by “significant violations of the provisions of criminal procedure,” the court said in a public statement, translated via Google Translate.

The official statement added that “the wording of the decision is incomprehensible, the decision has no reason for decisive facts, and the reasons given are unclear, which is the reason for its cancellation.”

The appeals court added that the first-instance court had failed to take into account that this was a so-called “shortened extradition procedure” in which the court, not the minister of justice, makes a decision on the extradition.

Moreover, it had failed to clearly say whether the US or South Korea had petitioned for his extradition first, “which is one of the criteria when deciding” where someone will be deported to, the court said.

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Kwon was arrested in March at the Podgorica airport, trying to leave Montenegro with fake passports.

It was the culmination of a six-month manhunt. Interpol had issued a red notice for his arrest in September 2022.

He was arrested alongside Terraform Labs’ previous financial officer, Han Chang-joon.

They were both found guilty of using forged documents and sentenced to four months in jail in June.

After serving his sentence, Han was extradited to South Korea earlier this month.

The former Terraform Labs CEO has accepted that he will be extradited, Kwon’s lawyer told DL News.

Kwon is still in a jail near Podgorica.

Terraform Labs filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January.

Have tips about crypto enforcement matters? Contact the author at ana@dlnews.com.

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