March 27, 2024
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Montenegro Court Overrules Extradition, a Win for Terraform Labs Co-founder Do Kwon

The legal saga surrounding Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon has taken another turn as the Appellate Court of Montenegro, on March 5, overturned the High Court of Podgorica’s decision to extradite him to the United States. This marks the latest development in a prolonged extradition process that has been ongoing since Kwon’s arrest in Montenegro in March 2023.

The Appellate Court’s ruling stated that the earlier decision by the High Court of Podgorica to approve Kwon’s extradition was marred by “significant violations of the provisions of criminal procedure” under local laws. The panel of judges emphasized that there were “no clear and valid reasons for decisive facts” regarding the extradition request, as per an official statement released by the court.

This decision follows the High Court of Podgorica’s initial approval of Kwon’s extradition to the U.S. on February 20 for criminal prosecution related to several offenses. The Appellate Court’s intervention underscores the complexity and controversies surrounding the legal proceedings.

The Appellate Court of Montenegro had previously nullified the extradition approval in December 2023, arguing that the case should be sent back to the Podgorica Basic Court for a retrial. The extradition process has been a subject of heated debate, with both the United States and South Korea seeking Kwon’s return, prompting discussions on whether he should face legal proceedings in his native country.

Terraform Labs, the company founded by Do Kwon, is renowned for its Terra blockchain, which includes the Terra stablecoin and the associated Luna token. The company faced a significant setback in May 2022 when both Terra and Luna collapsed due to alleged fraud. The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission has accused Terraform Labs and Kwon of orchestrating a fraudulent scheme that resulted in a loss of at least $40 billion from the market.

Kwon’s legal battles have garnered attention globally, raising questions about jurisdiction and the intricacies of extraditing individuals involved in international financial crimes. The final decision on Kwon’s extradition now rests with the Minister of Justice of Montenegro, adding another layer of complexity to this ongoing legal saga.

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