Do Kwon’s Fate Sealed? Montenegrin Court Greenlights Extradition, Likely to the US

April 12, 2024

Following Montenegro High Court’s renewed approval, disgraced Terraform Labs (TFL) CEO Do Kwon faces imminent extradition. Online speculation is rife about the possibility of his extradition to the U.S., with the ultimate decision resting in the hands of the country’s Minister of Justice.

Montenegro’s Minister of Justice, Andrej Milović, now holds the key to Kwon’s extradition destination. Despite the Balkan country’s undisclosed stance on the matter, the minister reportedly indicated in a November TV interview that the decision regarding Kwon’s extradition would be political in nature.

The Wall Street Journal reported last December that “Montenegro’s top justice official privately said he plans to send disgraced crypto tycoon Kwon to the U.S. rather than South Korea to face criminal charges,” citing “people familiar with the matter” as its source of information.

Last month, Montenegro’s Supreme Court made significant legal maneuvers that sparked intrigue and speculation. In a pivotal move, the court reversed the course of Kwon’s high-stakes extradition saga, diverging sharply from previous lower court rulings. This decision effectively kept Kwon within Montenegro’s jurisdiction and postponed his imminent transfer elsewhere.

The dramatic pause came amid the Montenegrin Appellate Court’s previous decision, aligning with the High Court’s stance to extradite crypto executive Kwon to South Korea.

The Supreme Court of Montenegro offered a comprehensive rationale for halting the extradition of the prominent crypto mogul to South Korea, citing the country’s legal statutes. This crucial delay is grounded in Article 440, paragraph 4, of the Montenegrin Code of Criminal Procedure.

“In a situation where two countries are competing for extradition, the court’s duty is to determine whether the requirements for extradition of the defendant are met,” The Supreme Court said at the time. “The decision to approve or prioritize extradition of criminals should be made by the competent minister, not the court.”

This legal provision empowered the Supreme Court to postpone or completely stop the execution of final court judgments, subject to a thorough examination of the request to ensure legal compliance and protect legality.

Authorities in Montenegro arrested Kwon in March 2023 for using falsified travel documents during an attempt to leave the country. As the courts deliberate on extradition requests from both the U.S. and South Korea, where he faces criminal charges, Kwon is reportedly free to travel within Montenegro.

Kwon and individuals associated with Terraform Labs are accused of committing fraud and deceiving investors during the platform’s collapse in May 2022. In a civil case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a jury on April 5 found both the company and Kwon liable for fraud. Additionally, the Terraform Labs co-founder may face criminal charges in both the U.S. and South Korea.

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