Anchor: The South Korean justice ministry has asked Montenegro to extradite Kwon Do-hyeong, commonly known as Do Kwon, after his arrest in the southeastern European country on Thursday. Kwon appeared in court on Friday, but it remains unclear whether the mastermind behind the ill-fated cryptocurrencies TerraUSD and Luna will be returned to his home country.
Kim Bum-soo wraps up the latest developments.
Report: Co-founder of failed blockchain firm Terraform Labs Kwon Do-hyeong has been on Interpol's wanted list for allegations of fraud and financial crimes.
Following the massive crash of the ill-fated cryptocurrency TerraUSD and Luna in May last year, the 31-year old South Korean citizen had been hiding in Serbia before moving to Montenegro where he was arrested on Thursday local time.
The South Korean prosecution says Kwon made false claims that TerraUSD was designed to be pegged to stable assets like the U.S. dollar and was safe from drastic fluctuations in prices, known as a stablecoin.
However, in May last year, the stablecoin plunged below the promised threshold of one U.S. dollar, eventually erasing a total of around 40 billion dollars invested in the cryptocurrency.
South Korea in September asked Interpol to circulate a “red notice” for Kwon who was eventually arrested in an airport in Montenegro while trying to fly to Dubai. He was found with a Costa Rican passport in his possession.
Kwon was seen in handcuffs on Friday while being escorted by local policemen to a court in Montenegro’s capital city Podgorica. The court charged Kwon with forgery and ordered that he be remanded in custody for up to 30 days.
On Thursday, police in New York indicted Kwon on eight charges including securities fraud, wire fraud, commodities fraud and conspiracy.
It follows a similar move by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month, which charged Kwon for orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud involving an algorithmic stablecoin and other crypto asset securities.
Because Kwon faces multiple charges in the U.S. and in Montenegro, it remains uncertain when, or even if, he will be extradited back to South Korea.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.