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Crypto fugitive Kwon in good health in Montenegro: S. Korean officials

By Yonhap

Published : March 29, 2023 - 10:38

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This photo, taken on Tuesday, shows a correctional facility in Spuz, Montenegro, where Do Kwon is being held. (Yonhap) This photo, taken on Tuesday, shows a correctional facility in Spuz, Montenegro, where Do Kwon is being held. (Yonhap)

SPUZ, Montenegro -- Do Kwon, the co-founder of Terraform Labs, the company behind a cryptocurrency that suffered a multibillion-dollar crash last year, is in good health while being held in Montenegro, according to South Korean officials.

The 32-year-old, whose full name is Kwon Do-hyung, is locked behind bars in a detention facility in Spuz, a small town just north of the capital Podgorica. He was arrested last week after being on the run for nearly 11 months.

"I met Kwon Do-hyung and asked about his health, and he said he is fine," an official of South Korea's Embassy in Serbia told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity Tuesday. Serbia is a neighboring Balkan country.

Embassy officials have also met with Montenegro officials and requested their cooperation in the extradition of Kwon.

However, it is unclear whether Kwon would be sent to South Korea, as U.S. prosecutors have also said they intend to seek Kwon's extradition for criminal charges.

Kwon is detained along with one of his close aides, surnamed Han. The duo was arrested at Podgorica Airport on Thursday after attempting to travel to Dubai with forged passports.

The two are expected to remain in the Montenegro facility for up to 30 days, and can only be visited by his lawyer or family members, according to correctional facility officials.

Prosecutors in Montenegro have said they will bring charges against Kwon and his aide for falsifying official documents, which reportedly results in imprisonment of around six months.

Kwon has been under investigation for alleged fraud and tax evasion by South Korean prosecutors after investors in TerraUSD and Luna filed complaints against Kwon last May, accusing him of a Ponzi scheme over the loss of billions of won following the crash of both coins.

Prosecutors have since sought an arrest warrant for Kwon on allegations that included providing false information to investors and the violation of the capital market law.

Interpol also issued a red notice, used for the highest level of wanted suspects and criminals. His passport has since been invalidated.

Prosecutors also again sought an arrest warrant for Daniel Shin, another co-founder of Terraform Labs, on charges of gaining illegal profits before the collapse of the coins.

TerraUSD was designed as a stablecoin, which was pegged to stable assets like the U.S. dollar. But holders of TerraUSD and Luna lost more than an estimated $40 billion in market value after the stablecoin plunged far below its $1 peg last May. (Yonhap)