The legal drama involving Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, took a new turn as he secured a second appeal victory against the Montenegro High Court‘s decision to uphold extradition requests from the U.S. and South Korea.
Initially, Kwon had won in an appeal in December, overturning the High Court’s decision favoring the extradition requests. However, the court later reversed its stance at the end of December, reinstating the validity of the extradition requests. Kwon then went forward with another appeal last month.
In January, Kwon’s legal representative, Goran Rodic, announced plans to challenge the High Court’s decision, citing political pressure on local courts to expedite the extradition process.
The recent appeal’s success was attributed to numerous violations of criminal procedure provisions. The appellate court agreed with Kwon’s legal team’s contention that the decision’s wording lacked clarity.
Furthermore, the court highlighted the trial court’s failure to adequately address the extradition requests from South Korea and the United States. It also noted the High Court’s failure to correctly apply the legal provisions of the extradition procedure.
Clarifying the matter, the appellate court referred to Article 29 of the Law on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, emphasizing that the decision on extradition should be made by the Minister of Justice, not through the regular procedure.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Montenegrin police announced the extradition of Han Chang-joon, Terraform Labs’ former financial officer, to South Korea.
Han, along with Kwon, was apprehended at Podgorica airport in March 2023 while attempting to flee on a private jet, concluding a six-month international manhunt.
The decision to extradite Han was made by the country’s Ministry of Justice, according to an official statement from the Montenegrin police. Han is now facing criminal proceedings for multiple offenses related to fraud in financial investment services, investments, and the capital market, which carry a potential life imprisonment sentence in South Korea.
It is worth remembering that the collapse of Terra’s dollar peg in May 2022 led to its downfall and subsequent industry consequences.
Kwon was initially detained in Montenegro in March on charges of using a counterfeit passport in an attempt to leave the country. He was later released from custody awaiting trial after posting a $436,000 bail in May. In June, a Montenegro court convicted him of document forgery and sentenced him to four months in prison.