The legal saga surrounding Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, has taken a significant turn as the High Court of Podgorica in Montenegro has approved his extradition to either the United States or South Korea. This decision marks a crucial development in the case that has been unfolding since Kwon’s arrest in Montenegro in March 2023.
The court’s approval of extradition was based on the fulfillment of legal requirements, according to an official statement from the court on November 24. The final decision on whether Do Kwon will be extradited to the U.S. or South Korea now lies in the hands of Montenegro’s minister of justice.
The legal troubles for Do Kwon began in June 2023 when he was charged with attempting to leave Montenegro using a fake Costa Rican passport. This was followed by his arrest in connection with the collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022, a significant event that amounted to $40 billion.
If extradited to the United States, Kwon faces a series of charges, including a fraud-related civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and criminal charges by the Justice Department. The collapse of TerraUSD and LUNA has brought Kwon under intense scrutiny in the U.S., and the legal proceedings could result in severe consequences.
On the other hand, extradition to South Korea carries its own set of challenges for Do Kwon. In his home country, he could potentially face a 40-year jail sentence, with allegations suggesting that the majority of his crimes were committed there.
The latest decision by the Montenegro court comes after Kwon’s appeal was denied by the highest court in the country, forcing him to remain in prison. Reports indicate that Kwon is currently held at Spuž prison near Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. The prison conditions have been described as cramped and poorly ventilated.
As Montenegro’s minister of justice holds the key to the final decision on Do Kwon’s extradition, the crypto community awaits the next chapter in this unfolding legal drama, which has implications for the future of Terraform Labs and the broader cryptocurrency landscape.