Do Kwon, the founder and former CEO of Terraform Labs, has won an appeal to remain in Montenegro, throwing a spanner in the works for prosecutors from the U.S. and South Korea who are seeking his extradition.
On Feb. 7, The Court of Appeals in Montenegro accepted the appeal filed by Kwon’s lawyers against his extradition, and in doing so, overturned a Dec. 29 ruling from the High Court of Podgorica that deemed the grounds for extradition had been satisfied.
The Court of Appeals said that a council had arrived at the decision after finding that there had been “significant violations” of certain provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code. The council noted that the High Court’s decision wording was unclear and lacked decisive facts.
Kwon was arrested in Podgorica with former Terraform Labs CFO Han Chang Joon in March 2023 after trying to board a plane to Dubai at the airport using falsified travel documents.
Hours after his arrest, prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brought criminal charges against Kwon for his role in the collapse of the Terra ecosystem, adding on the civil charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Kwon is also wanted by South Korean authorities looking into the collapse of TerraUSD (UST), who have alleged that Kwon and his associates at Terraform Labs defrauded investors by falsely promoting the stablecoin.
South Korea managed to successfully extradite Kwon’s associate Han Chang Joon earlier this week, but has largely been at odds with U.S. prosecutors and the Montenegrin courts over the extradition of Kwon.
It is worth noting that the Appeals court in Montenegro found that the lower court had not adequately established the sequence of arrival of the extradition requests from South Korea and the U.S., which likely means that South Korea might have been the first country to file the request.