Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon reportedly arrested in Montenegro

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According to a post from Filip Adzic, minister of the interior of Montenegro, an individual suspected of being Terra co-founder Do Kwon has been arrested within the territory of the Balkan nation on March 23. Since the announcement was first made, local news outlet Vijesti has confirmed that the Twitter account that made the announcement is from the minister of the interior of Montenegro and that the individual arrested was a South Korean national. 

The same day, South Korean local news outlet Yonhap News Agency said authorities confirmed based on “photo data,” alongside name, nationality and age of an identification card that the arrested individual was the same person as Terraform Labs’ CEO, Do Kwon. The former blockchain executive’s aide, Han Mo, was also reportedly arrested with him in Podgorica. However, the National Police Agency of South Korea stated it was still waiting for “fingerprint information” from Montenegrin authorities to fully verify that the arrested individuals are in fact Kwon and Mo. South Korean prosecutors previously revoked Kwon’s passports in October 2022. 

“Montenegrin police have detained a person suspected of being one of the most wanted fugitives, South Korean citizen Do Kwon, co-founder and CEO of Singapore-based Terraform Labs.”

As told by Adzic, an individual suspected of being the former “cryptocurrency king” was detained at the Podgorica airport with “falsified documents,” and authorities are awaiting official confirmation of identity. Montenegro is geographically south of Serbia and shares borders with the country. Since December 2022, South Korean prosecutors have alleged that Kwon was hiding in Serbia, where no extradition agreement exists with South Korea. On Sept. 26, 2022, an Interpol red notice was issued for the arrest of Kwon for his alleged role in the collapse of the $40-billion Luna Classic (LUNC) and TerraUSD (USTC) ecosystem in May 2022. He is also wanted by regulatory authorities in South Korea, Singapore and the United States. 

Montenegro reportedly does not have an extradition agreement with either Singapore or South Korea. However, it does have an old extradition treaty with the U.S. and has complied with extradition requests for U.S. nationals in the past. The country also communicates with Interpol on extradition matters. Kwon has spent substantial time in the U.S. in the past, but it is not clear if he is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or committed criminal acts against U.S. nationals, for potential extradition proceedings.

On Feb. 16, 2023, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Kwon with “orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud involving an algorithmic stablecoin and other crypto asset securities.” Since March, the U.S. Department of Justice has also been probing Kwon’s role in the collapse of the Terra ecosystem. However, no criminal complaints have been filed against Kwon within the territory of the United States.