Do Kwon may have to serve time in Montenegro if convicted of charges related to forged identification documents before any extradition to the U.S. or South Korea is granted.
Authorities from both the United States and South Korea have made efforts to have Terra co-founder Do Kwon extradited to their respective countries following his arrest in Montenegro.
At a March 29 press conference, Montenegrin Justice Minister Marko Kovač said the United States made diplomatic efforts to ask for Kwon to be handed over, while South Korean officials have requested extradition. Kovač made the announcement following Kwon’s arrest at Montenegro’s Podgorica airport on March 23, adding the Terra co-founder’s detainment had been extended to 30 days.
“In the case when we receive several extradition requests, I would like to say that determining to which state they will be extradited is based on several factors like the severity of the committed criminal offense, the location and time when the criminal offense has been committed, the order in which we have received the request for extradition and several other factors,” said Kovač through an interpreter.
Kovač said decisions regarding custody of Kwon will go to Montenegro’s high court. According to the justice minister, the Terra co-founder used allegedly forged passports while in Montenegro and may serve time in the country related to those charges if convicted before any extradition is granted.
Kwon’s whereabouts had largely been unknown following the collapse of Terra in May 2022, though he was often active on his Twitter account and said he was making “zero effort to hide” in September. In February, reports suggested that Kwon may have traveled to Serbia — the European country borders Montenegro to the north — after Interpol issued a Red Notice for his provisional arrest.
A South Korean citizen, Kwon would likely face prosecution in his home country, where Terraform Labs was headquartered and authorities have been targeting individuals involved in the collapse of the platform. At the time of publication, the whereabouts of Terra co-founder Daniel Shin were unknown, but Kwon’s associate Han Chang-Joon was also detained in Montenegro.
It’s unclear which country, if any, would be the most likely to be granted extradition of Kwon. The situation echoes attempts by the United States to gain custody of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who was in the Bahamas at the time of the exchange’s collapse.