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Do Kwon Seeks Trial Delay: Terra Founder Stuck in Montenegro

Last Updated January 12, 2024 11:26 AM
Josh Adams
Last Updated January 12, 2024 11:26 AM
Key Takeaways
  • Former crypto mogul Do Kwon is seeking a delay to his trial in the United States.
  • Kwon faces charges related to his time at the head of Terraform Labs.
  • The South Korean is unsure when he will be deported from Montenegro.

Do Kwon’s legal troubles continue to mount as his counsel scrambles to delay extradition and postpone an upcoming trial in the US. The controversial figure behind the collapsed TerraUSD stablecoin faces securities fraud charges that could land him in prison for years.

Do Kwon Still Awaiting Trial in the United States

Kwon rocketed to crypto fame in 2018 when he co-founded Terraform Labs and launched the Terra blockchain and LUNA token. His goal was to power a decentralized payments system, but his crown jewel was the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin that crashed in epic fashion in 2022. A collapse wiped out $40 billion overnight, tanking LUNA and stablemate UST.

The following market crash pushed the entire market into a so-called “crypto winter”. This state of affairs has, arguably, only ended in recent months after sustained price rises.

Now US prosecutors allege  that Kwon perpetrated fraud by failing to properly disclose the risks of his Terra ecosystem. The charges claim misrepresentations bilked investors out of billions. An eight-count indictment awaits Kwon if he’s successfully extradited to America.

But that process has hit snags. Kwon was arrested in Montenegro last March along with an associate while allegedly traveling on false documents. Although he faces local charges, authorities approved extradition to both the US and South Korea. In December, his counsel successfully appealed  based on procedural issues, forcing a retrial.

With extradition up in the air, his legal team has requested postponement of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) trial slated for late January. In a recent filing , they explained that Montenegro proceedings are lagging, meaning Kwon likely won’t be Stateside until “February or March at the earliest.”

Lawyers Request Trial Delay or Absence

Rather than adjourn outright, lawyers alternatively proposed allowing the trial to move forward sans Kwon.  If the Court does not delay the trial, Kwon’s lawyers request that the jury be told that his absence and not testifying should not be viewed as “unduly prejudicial to him”.

The court has yet to rule on either a delay or conditional commencement. For now, Do Kwon languishes in legal limbo as his counsel attempts to avoid or delay judgment day. 

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