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Montenegro Appellate Court Overturns Extradition of Crypto Pioneer Do Kwon

Montenegro Appellate Court Overturns Extradition of Crypto Pioneer Do Kwon

TL;DR

  • The Appellate Court of Montenegro has reversed the High Court of Podgorica’s decision to extradite Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, to the United States.
  • Kwon was arrested in Montenegro in March 2023 following accusations of fraud linked to the collapse of Terra’s stablecoin and the associated Luna token. 
  • The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission alleges that Terraform Labs and Kwon masterminded a fraudulent scheme that resulted in at least $40 billion being erased from the market.

In a significant legal development, the Appellate Court of Montenegro has reversed the High Court of Podgorica’s decision to extradite Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, to the United States. This ruling has ignited a flurry of legal debates and is anticipated to have far-reaching implications for the future of the cryptocurrency industry.

Kwon was apprehended in Montenegro in March 2023, following accusations of fraud linked to the collapse of Terra’s stablecoin and the associated Luna token. Both the U.S. and South Korea sought Kwon’s extradition shortly after his arrest, sparking intense debates over whether the Terraform Labs founder should be returned to his home country.

The High Court in Podgorica had previously sanctioned Kwon’s extradition to the U.S. for criminal prosecution for several offenses on February 20. However, the Appellate Court contended that the High Court’s previous order was marred by “significant violations of the provisions of criminal procedure” under local laws.

Do Kwon’s Extradition: A Timeline of Events

Montenegro Appellate Court Overturns Extradition of Crypto Pioneer Do Kwon

The panel stated in the announcement, “There are no clear and valid reasons for decisive facts regarding the order of arrival request letter.” The case has now been sent back to the initial court for a retrial and a new verdict.

This latest reversal by the Appellate Court of Montenegro marks another chapter in the protracted saga of Kwon’s extradition process. In December 2023, the Appellate Court of Montenegro overturned the decision to extradite Kwon to either the U.S. or South Korea. They contended that the case should be sent back to the Podgorica Basic Court for a retrial.

In November 2023, the High Court of Podgorica had already set the legal groundwork for Kwon’s extradition. However, the ultimate decision on Kwon’s extradition was left to the Minister of Justice of Montenegro.

The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission alleges that Terraform Labs and its co-founder Kwon masterminded a fraudulent scheme that resulted in at least $40 billion being erased from the market. The case continues to evolve, and the final decision on Kwon’s extradition is still pending.

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