Do Kwon Stays Put: Montenegrin Supreme Court Halts Extradition, Overrules Past Decisions

March 22, 2024

In a series of legal volleys that raised eyebrows and birthed speculations, the Supreme Court of Montenegro executed a pivotal shift in the high-stakes extradition narrative of Do Kwon, the controversial CEO at the helm of Terraform Labs (TFL). With a decisive mandate issued on Friday, the court starkly reversed the trajectory set by two lower court rulings, grounding Kwon within Montenegro’s borders and averting his immediate transfer. 

The dramatic pause comes against the backdrop of an earlier decision by the Montenegrin Appellate Court, siding with the High Court’s call to extradite crypto titan Kwon back to South Korea. This consensus not only throws a wrench into the U.S.’s plans to bring Kwon stateside for a legal showdown but also marks a significant twist in the saga surrounding the high-profile implosion of TerraUSD and LUNA.

On Friday, Montenegro’s Supreme Court intervened, overturning previous decisions from two lower courts regarding the extradition of cryptocurrency mogul Kwon to South Korea. This pivotal decision effectively puts a temporary halt to Kwon’s extradition process, injecting a significant degree of uncertainty into the ongoing saga.

“The Council of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, deciding on the proposal of the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office of Montenegro (VDT) to postpone the execution of the Decision of the High Court in Podgorica Kv no. 265/24 of March 6, 2024 and Decision of the Appellate Court of Montenegro Kvž no. 179/24 of March 20, 2024, submitted with the Request for Protection of Legality of VDT Ktz. No. 15/24 issued a Decision that postponed the above-mentioned decisions on the extradition of the defendant Kwon Do Hyeong to the Republic of South Korea, and at the request of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of South Korea, from March 24, 2023, until a decision is made on the submitted request for the protection of legality,” Montenegro’s Supreme Court noted in its latest statement.

The country’s highest court explained that the decision to halt the extradition of crypto mogul to South Korea is firmly rooted in the nation’s legal framework. Specifically, this decision aligns with Article 440, paragraph 4, of the Montenegrin Code of Criminal Procedure. This particular provision grants the Supreme Court the authority to either postpone or completely stop the execution of final court decisions, based upon a thorough review of the request for the protection of legality. 

The Supreme Court of Montenegro’s recent decision effectively serves as a strategic time-out in the escalating international legal battle for custody of cryptoexecutive, between South Korea and the United States. Both nations are eager to prosecute Kwon on serious criminal charges, including fraud, tied to the catastrophic $40 billion implosion of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022. 

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