Montenegro extends custody of crypto fugitive Do Kwon by six months

A Montenegro court on Thursday extended fugitive cryptocurrency entrepreneur Do Kwon’s stay in custody for an additional six months, as he awaits trial for possible extradition.

The Terraform founder has been in jail in Montenegro since late March, after being arrested at the capital’s airport carrying alleged fake travel documents.

Kwon, whose real name is Kwon Do-hyung, is currently facing two separate criminal cases in Montenegro — one related to the alleged possession of forged documents and the other concerning his possible extradition.

Both Seoul and Washington are seeking Kwon’s extradition for his suspected role in fraud linked to his company’s dramatic collapse last year, which wiped out about $40 billion of investors’ money and shook global crypto markets.

“The judge of the Higher Court ordered the six months detention, as there is an extradition case opened in front of this court at the request of South Korea,” Marija Rakovic, a speaker for the Higher Court, told to reporters.

Prior to his arrest, Kwon had been on the run for months, after fleeing first South Korea and then Singapore ahead of the company’s crash in May last year.

In September, South Korean prosecutors asked Interpol to place him on the red notice list across the agency’s 195 member nations and revoked his passport.

Kwon’s TerraUSD was marketed as a “stablecoin”, which is typically pegged to stable assets such as the US dollar to prevent drastic fluctuations in prices.

Cryptocurrencies have come under increasing scrutiny from regulators after a string of recent controversies, including the high-profile collapse of the exchange FTX.

The digital currency sector has also been hit hard by the demise of US crypto lenders Silvergate and Signature amid a string of banking failures earlier this year that rattled global markets.

Since his arrest in Montenegro, Kwon has been a source of political intrigue in the country’s raucous political scene.

During the run-up to parliamentary elections last week, controversy swirled after interim Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic and his allies accused Europe Now’s leader Milojko Spajic of fostering links with Kwon.

Political analysts have suggested the allegations might have dented Europe Now’s performance at the polls, resulting in an ongoing effort by the party to string together a coalition after grabbing approximately just a quarter of the votes cast in the contest.

str-ds/yad

© Agence France-Presse

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