Do Kwon Extradition Merry-go-round Continues

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  • The Appellate Court of Montenegro overturned Kwon’s extradition decision, prompting a retrial
  • Kwon was due to be extradited to the US to face charges relating to the collapse of the Terra ecosystem
  • Kwon may miss his trial against the Securities and Exchange Commission due to the extradition retrial

The Do Kwon extradition merry-go-round has undergone another lap as the Appellate Court of Montenegro quashed an earlier decision of a court in Podgorica to send the Terraform Labs founder to the US to face trial. The move returns the case to the first instance court for retrial and decision-making, drawing further parallels with the case of MtGox launderer Alexander Vinnik. The decision means that Kwon will certainly miss the start of his trial against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and may miss the whole thing.

Twisted Tale Turns Again

Terra’s collapse in mid-2022 resulted in the loss of some $40 billion of investor dollars, prompting Kwon’s flight to Montenegro through Serbia. Following his arrest on charges of using a false passport, his presence is wanted by both the US and South Korea, who both want to try him in relation to the collapse of Terra.

The High Court in Podgorica had initially approved Kwon’s extradition to South Korea and the United States on multiple criminal charges last December, but Kwon’s defense successfully appealed this decision later that month after the Appellate Court found the initial ruling flawed, citing violations of criminal procedure.

In February the Montenegrin high court ruled that Kwon’s extradition should go ahead but Kwon appealed again, with the SEC delaying the start of its trial so that Kwon could attend. This seems a distinct unlikelihood, however, given the latest turn of events.

Parallels to Vinnik Case

According to the announcement, the case is heading for a retrial because “there are no clear and valid reasons for decisive facts regarding the order of arrival of requests” for extradition from the US and South Korea.

The case seems to echo that of the MtGox launderer Alexander Vinnik who was the subject of a three-way tug of war for over two years between France, Russia, and the US before he was finally extradited to the US in August 2022.