Legal challenge halts Do Kwon’s extradition to South Korea

abdelaziz Fathi

The extradition of Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon to South Korea has been temporarily halted due to a legal objection raised by the top prosecutor of Montenegro.

The challenge was filed on Thursday and questions the legality of the High Court’s expedited decision to extradite Kwon to South Korea over the United States, where he is also facing criminal charges. This decision, which was then upheld by an appellate court, reportedly exceeded the procedural boundaries set for such proceedings, which necessitates a legal review.

Montenegro finds itself in a complex legal tug-of-war between South Korea and the U.S., both seeking Kwon’s extradition for his involvement in the $40 billion collapse of Terraform Labs and its ecosystem in May 2022.

Kwon, who has been in Montenegrin custody since March 2023 after being arrested for using forged Costa Rican documents while attempting to travel to Dubai, has contested his extradition since his arrest, navigating through the legal system with mixed results.

The Montenegrin Office of the Supreme State Prosecutor clarified that the decision to grant extradition rights lies exclusively with the nation’s justice minister.

Earlier this month, the Montenegro Court of Appeals revoked the extradition of Do Kwon to the U.S., siding with the appeal made by his defense attorneys. This move overturns the prior decision made by the country’s High Court on February 20.

The Appeals Court highlighted concerns regarding procedural issues, specifically citing a lack of clear reasoning and facts in the High Court’s extradition decision.

The case will now be returned to the first-instance court for reconsideration, marking another twist in the prolonged extradition process that began when Kwon was arrested in Montenegro in March 2023.

The legal proceedings against Kwon have been ongoing since last year. The SEC charged Terraform Labs and Kwon in February over the collapse of TerraUSD and Luna, which led to the loss of $40 billion in investor wealth. South Korean prosecutors have levied similar charges against Kwon and Terra affiliates.

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