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Montenegro Ready to Extradite South Korean Crypto Fugitive

Montenegro’s Higher Court on Friday said the fugitive founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency Terra, Do Kwon, can be extradited, stressing that Justice Minister Andrej Milovic will decide on extradition requests from both South Korea and the United States.

On June 19, the Basic Court in Podgorica sentenced Do Kwon and his associate, Han Chang-joon, to four months in jail each for falsifying their IDs, after they were arrested on March 23 at Podgorica airport trying to board a private flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with falsified travel documents from Costa Rica.

“Do Kwon gave his consent to be extradited to the South Korean authorities according to a shortened procedure, but the Higher Court found that it should still be decided because several countries have asked for his extradition. The Justice Minister will decide which country has priority,” the Higher Court said in a press release.

Since Do Kwon’s arrest, both South Korea and the US have been requesting his extradition to face criminal charges following his trial in Montenegro.

According to Montenegrin law, an extradition process can only be initiated after Do Kwon serves his sentence in Montenegro.

Montenegro’s Law on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters puts the Justice Minister in charge of making final decisions on extradition.

On November 23, Justice Minister Andrej Milovic said it would be a political decision on whether to extradite Do Kwon to the US or South Korea, but didn’t reveal his decision.

“The US is our main foreign policy partner. We want to sign a bilateral extradition agreement as soon as possible, to create a legal framework for future extraditions,” Milovic told television Vijesti.

On September 26, an Interpol red notice was issued for Da Kwon’s arrest for his alleged role in the collapse of the $40 billion Terra Luna (LUNC) and Terra USD (USTC) ecosystem in May 2022. He is wanted by regulatory authorities in South Korea, Singapore and the US.

Kwon was charged with fraud and breaches of South Korea’s capital markets law. Kwon claimed the charges were “politically motivated.”

Terraform Labs was behind the Terra “stablecoin”, which was designed to have a relatively fixed price and be pegged to a real-world commodity or currency. Terra’s value collapsed last May from $116 to less than $0.0002.

Globally, investors in the two coins lost an estimated $42 billion according to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. Some investors lost their entire life savings, and South Korean authorities have opened several criminal probes into the crash.

Source : Balkan Insight