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Montenegro to extradite ‘Crypto King’ Do Kwon to the US

The High Court in Podgorica has decided to extradite Do Kwon, the former CEO of Terraform Labs, to the United States, where he faces charges of securities fraud, commodities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. The court rejected South Korea’s request to extradite the so-called ‘crypto king’, who is accused of orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset scam that crashed the TerraUSD and Luna tokens in May 2022.

The court’s decision came after the Appellate Court ordered the High Court to choose between the two countries that sought Do Kwon’s extradition. The High Court had previously confirmed that the conditions for extradition were met, but left the final decision to the Minister of Justice, Andrej Milovic.

However, the Appellate Court pointed out that the Minister of Justice only decides in regular extradition procedures, and that Do Kwon had agreed to be extradited in a shortened procedure to the countries that requested his extradition.

Do Kwon

Do Kwon’s lawyer, Goran Rodic, had argued that his client should be extradited to South Korea rather than the United States, based on legal reasons. He said that the European Convention on Extradition, the bilateral agreement with the US, and the Montenegrin Law on International Legal Assistance all indicated that Do Kwon should be extradited to South Korea, when such a decision was made.

On the other hand, Minister of Justice Andrej Milovic, commenting on whether Do Kwon should be extradited to South Korea or the US, said that it was a political decision.

“The US is our main foreign policy partner, we want to sign a bilateral extradition agreement as soon as possible, in order to create a legal framework for future extraditions,” he said at the time.

Do Kwon and his associate, Han Chang-joon, were arrested on March 23, 2023, at Podgorica Airport, where they tried to fly to Dubai with fake passports of Costa Rica. During the search, the police also found travel documents of Belgium.

During the court proceedings before the Basic Court in Podgorica for falsifying documents, the Koreans claimed that they had traveled the world with passports of Costa Rica and Belgium, which they had obtained through an agency in Singapore, and that they did not doubt their authenticity.

Do Kwon also said that, a few days after they received the passports of Belgium, he and his associate saw that the names and dates of birth in the passports were wrong and that they did not use them for that reason.

“We did not suspect that such a mistake could happen, so we did not check the passports during the handover. When we applied for a passport of Belgium, we also applied for passports of Grenada, that request was rejected, while our request for a passport of Costa Rica was approved, as a result of which we built a relationship of trust with this agency,” Do Kwon said.

Han Chang-joon was extradited to South Korea 10 days ago.

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