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Do Kwon Faces Charges in Montenegro That Could Delay His Extradition

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Authorities in Montenegro have fielded extradition requests for Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon from South Korea and the U.S.
  • The Montenegrin Justice Department said that they would decide whose extradition request to honor based on the severity, time, location of Kwon's alleged crimes, and the order in which the requests were made.
  • According to his defense lawyer, Kwon faces at least a year in Montenegro before extradition can be considered.
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Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon must face trial for passport fraud before Montenegrin authorities consider extradition.

Today, the Montenegrin Justice Department announced that they would only consider diplomatic efforts by the U.S. and South Korea to extradite Kwon after he served time for using fake identity documents.

Montenegrin Authorities Describe Criteria for Extradition Decision

Additionally, authorities said they would consider the severity of crimes, their time and location, and the order in which the extradition requests were received before granting a decision.

Authorities apprehended Kwon, a South Korean, and an accomplice when they tried to board a flight from Podgorica to Dubai on March 23, 2023.

After the arrest, U.S. prosecutors charged Kwon with two counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and commodities fraud after the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin in May 2022. He allegedly misled the public in a TV interview and social media posts.

In South Korea, Kwon faces charges of capital markets law violations.

The South Korean foreign ministry revoked Kwon’s passport after he failed to appear for questioning in September 2022. They also asked Interpol to place him on their red-notice list to allow international law enforcement to arrest the TerraUSD co-founder provisionally before his potential extradition.

In September last year, Kwon tweeted that he was making “zero effort to hide.”

South Korea’s Ties With EU Could Make it Win Extradition Battle

It is unclear how Montenegrin authorities will evaluate U.S. and Korean charges against Kwon to decide where to deport him. 

His defense lawyer told Protos that the requests for extradition may only be realized after “at least a year.” The lawyer said a criminal trial could take four to five months. If found guilty, Kwon could face six months to five years in a Montenegrin prison. 

Kwon has reportedly already appealed charges related to alleged passport fraud, which could take about three to four months.

Extradition to South Korea may prove diplomatically easier, as South Korea joined Europe’s Convention on Extradition twelve years ago. Montenegro has no official arrangement with the Asian nation, and while it is not a member of the European Union, it has applied for membership.

On the other hand, Montenegro does not have an extradition agreement with the United States. It started bilateral negotiations with the U.S. in 2019.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...