Serbian police have seized the Belgrade luxury apartment where Do Kwon holed up in during a six month manhunt, according to Serbian prosecutor Branko Stamenkovic.
Police raided the exclusive €2 million duplex in the Serbian capital on Friday — just one day after DL News revealed that Kwon’s associate Han Chang-Joon had bought the flat while on the run.
“The police were on the ground to search the apartment and premises based on the order of the higher court in Belgrade at the proposal of the prosecution for high-tech crime, and the apartment was temporarily confiscated based on the order of the prosecution,” Stamenkovic told DL News.
Both the US and South Korea have charged Do Kwon for fraud in connection with the $60 billion collapse of the Terra blockchain network last May. South Korean prosecutors are also seeking the extradition of Han for his role as former CFO of Terraform Labs. An Interpol arrest warrant was issued for the two South Korean nationals in September 2022.
The news comes as national broadcaster KBS reported Kwon sent $7m to a South Korean law firm prior to the collapse of TerraUSD and Luna tokens in May.
“We have reason to suspect that the apartment was bought with the money derived from the criminal acts that are charged against him in Korea,” Stamenkovic told DL News.
“The implementation of evidentiary actions is underway, which will show exactly how he bought the apartment. If I’m not mistaken, this is the most valuable temporary seizure in that case,” the prosecutor said.
Stamenkovic is the Head of Special Prosecution for High Tech Crime for the Republic of Serbia and has been working alongside his South Korean counterparts in the hunt for Do Kwon and Han Chang-Joon. They have long been suspected of hiding in Serbia.
If I’m not mistaken, this is the most valuable temporary seizure in that case— Branko Stamenkovic, Special Prosecutor for High Tech Crime
Police were not aware of the existence of the apartment, which is just one building away from where the city’s chief of police is a resident, before DL News reported the development on Thursday.
“The article was an indication — we checked deeper, established certain evidence and saw that the allegations were founded, after which we took action on the ground,” Stamenovic said.
The apartment was bought by Kwon’s accomplice Han Chang-Joon, who was Terraform Labs’ chief financial officer and was arrested alongside Kwon as the pair attempted to board a private jet to Dubai from Montenegro. The pair were detained for using alleged forged passports and are currently waiting to be formally charged by a Montenegrin court – anticipated to happen this week.
Land registry records showed Han’s ownership of the property, but the public documents did not include the date of sale or any personal information such as an identification number.
NOW READ: Was this Do Kwon’s getaway jet to Dubai?
The investigation continues to raise questions about how two fugitives were able to not only register a business in their own names, but also purchase a property, while wanted by Interpol.
Property sale documents are officially filed by notary publics — of which there are dozens who could have processed Han’s documents — and their records are not publicly available.
DL News contacted several real estate agencies from Belgrade that offer luxury apartments in the city’s elite Dedinje district to find out how the process of purchase and security checks works.
Real estate agencies, lawyers and public notaries are bound by the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, which requires them to conduct security checks on their clients to ensure they are not a “person of risk”.
Real estate agents are also obliged to check clients in an official database by the Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.
According to the official website, the search engine includes only persons designated as terrorists by the United Nations Security Council meaning that people who have warrants for arrest by Interpol are not necessarily part of this database.
An international arrest warrant, also known as a Red Notice, was issued by the South Korean authorities for both Kwon and Han on 20 September last year, according to the Montenegrin Authorities who arrested the pair last month.
DL News revealed on Thursday that Han Chang-Joon had purchased the apartment in the Belgrade elite neighbourhood of Dedinje using his own name, and a neighbour positively identified him when shown recent pictures of him.