April 19, 2024
Do Kwon's Extradition Delayed, Lawyers Cite End of March
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Do Kwon’s Extradition Delayed; Lawyers Cite End of March

Do Kwon, the co-founder of Terraform Labs, may evade extradition to the United States ahead of the trial with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to his legal representatives. In recent filings on Feb. 26 to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, David Patton of Kaplan Hecker & Fink stated that Kwon “will likely not be extradited before the end of March” from Montenegro, where he has been since March 2023.

Despite anticipating a completed extradition, “unanticipated mistakes” have led to delays in the process. Patton mentioned, “[Kwon] will likely not be present or able to attend at least the start of the trial scheduled to begin on March 25, 2024.” He clarified that this information is a status update for the court, emphasizing that they won’t seek an adjournment of the trial date, regardless of the timing of Kwon’s ultimate extradition.

Goran Rodic, Kwon’s legal representative in Montenegro, revealed that the country’s High Court ruled on Feb. 21 for Kwon’s extradition to the U.S. due to “erroneous information.” The court misunderstood that the U.S. filed for extradition before South Korea, contrary to the actual sequence. Rodic stated,

“We have appealed the High Court’s February 21, 2024 decision in light of the illegality of the High Court’s decision ordering his extradition to the United States.” He added that the ‘summary’ process has taken longer than anticipated due to numerous unexpected mistakes by the lower court, and at this point, he does not expect Kwon’s extradition before the end of March.

Legal filings suggest that the U.S. is likely to win the extradition battle with South Korea. Kwon, arrested in Montenegro in March 2023 for using falsified travel documents, has been there for about a year during the extradition process. Between Terra’s collapse in May 2022 and his arrest, Kwon’s location remained largely undisclosed.

In February 2023, the SEC initiated a lawsuit against Kwon and Terraform Labs, alleging securities fraud. Attorney’s Office charged him with eight criminal counts in March 2023. The allegations revolve around a “multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud” related to offering TerraUSD (UST) and TerraLUNA. Judge Jed Rakoff granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC in December 2023, asserting that Terraform offered unregistered securities.

The trial, initially set for March 25, has been delayed to accommodate Kwon but is expected to proceed with his absence for at least the initial proceedings. The former U.S. President Donald Trump is also scheduled to appear in the same court district on the same day for his first criminal trial.

Image by freepik

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