Montenegro court rules against extradition of South Korean crypto mogul

Montenegro’s top court said Friday it has overturned a decision to hand over a South Korean mogul known as “the cryptocurrency king” to his native country.

The move marks yet another twist in a months-long legal saga in the case of Do Kwon, the Terraform Labs founder arrested in Montenegro last year.

Both South Korea and the U.S. had requested Do Kwon’s extradition from Montenegro.

MONTENEGRO APPEALS COURT CONFIRMS ‘CRYPTOCURRENCY KING’ WILL BE EXTRADITED TO SOUTH KOREA

Montenegrin courts first had ruled in favor of the U.S. but the ruling was later overturned in favor of South Korea’s request. The Supreme Court said Friday that a lower court should repeat the procedure again and that the final decision lies with Montenegro’s justice minister.

Do Kwon

FILE – Montenegrin police officers escort South Korean citizen, Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica, March 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic, File)

Kwon was charged in the U.S. with fraud by federal prosecutors in New York over a $40 billion crash of Terraform Labs’ cryptocurrency, which devastated retail investors around the world.

Kwon and another South Korean were arrested in Montenegro while trying to depart for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, using fake Costa Rican passports. He has served a prison term in Montenegro for using a fake passport.

Kwon and five others connected to Terraform had been wanted on allegations of fraud and financial crimes in relation to the implosion of its digital currencies in May 2022.

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TerraUSD was designed as a “stablecoin,” a currency which is pegged to stable assets like the dollar to prevent drastic fluctuations in prices. However, around $40 billion in market value was erased for the holders of TerraUSD and its floating sister currency, Luna, after the stablecoin plunged far below its $1 peg.

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