Do Kwon’s Extradition to South Korea Postponed by Montenegrin Supreme Court

The Luna/Terra founder will remain in the Balkan country “until a decision is made” on where to send him to face charges.

AccessTimeIconMar 22, 2024 at 2:42 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 22, 2024 at 2:44 p.m. UTC
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  • The Montenegrin Supreme Court has stepped in to stop Do Kwon from being extradited to South Korea.
  • The decision overturns earlier decisions from two lower courts to extradite Kwon to face charges in his home country, rather than in the U.S., which is also fighting to try him on criminal charges.

Montenegro’s Supreme Court placed a pause on Terra founder Do Kwon’s pending extradition from the Balkan country, issuing an order on Friday that overturns earlier decisions from two lower courts to extradite Kwon to his native South Korea.

Kwon has been in Montenegrin custody since March 2023, when he was arrested and jailed for attempting to use fake Costa Rican documents en route to Dubai after months on the run.

The decision effectively puts a time-out on the ongoing tug-of-war over Kwon between South Korea and the United States. Both countries want to try Kwon for criminal charges, including fraud, relating to the $40 billion collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022.

Kwon has fought extradition for a year, but a decision from a Montenegrin Appellate court earlier this month to extradite him to South Korea seemed final – until the country’s top prosecutor stepped in.

On Thursday, the Office of the Supreme State Prosecutor issued a statement arguing that the court’s decision overstepped the limits of its power. The prosecutor claimed that a decision on where to extradite Kwon can only be made by the country’s minister of justice.

The Supreme Court has said that Kwon’s extradition will be halted "until a decision is made."

A company Kwon founded, Terraform Labs, is set to go on trial next week to face charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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