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Terra’s Do Kwon Appeal of Extradition May Come Too Late as South Korea or U.S. Await

Last Updated December 6, 2023 3:18 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated December 6, 2023 3:18 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Do Kwon’s appeal against extradition throws his future into uncertainty.
  • Despite slim chances of success, the Montenegrin Court will review Do Kwon’s appeal, delaying a final decision.
  • The U.S and South Korea seek Do Kwon’s extradition, but political and legal complexities may lead to a settlement.

The saga surrounding Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, took another turn after the High Court of Podgorica approved his extradition to either South Korea or the United States.

Do Kwon has now filed an appeal  against the Montenegrin High Court’s decision to extradite him, throwing the timeline for his future into disarray. This development marks a crucial step in the legal proceedings against Kwon, who faces charges of financial crimes in both jurisdictions.

Last-Minute Appeal Throws Extradition into Chaos

The appeal , confirmed by the Montenegrin Court of Appeal on December 6th, forces a full review of the extradition ruling, delaying any decision on Kwon’s fate beyond the previously established deadline of December 15th.

This eleventh-hour maneuver  by Kwon signifies his refusal to accept the extradition order, further complicating the legal process and introducing significant uncertainty into the equation. The Montenegrin Ministry of Justice is now tasked with navigating this complex legal landscape and determining Kwon’s ultimate destination, with both South Korea and the United States vying for his extradition.

With the December 15th deadline now rendered obsolete, all eyes turn to the Montenegrin Court of Appeal as they delve into the intricacies of Kwon’s appeal. This legal battle promises to be a protracted one, leaving the question of Kwon’s future hanging in the balance.

Do Kwon’s Extradition Saga: Appeal Delays Decision, Chances of Overturning Seem Low

In June, a Montenegrin court ordered Kwon’s six-month detention, laying the groundwork for potential extradition. The recent appeal comes two weeks after the High Court endorsed extradition requests from both South Korea and the United States. Notably, the court left the final decision open, granting the Montenegrin Minister of Justice the authority to determine the destination.

During the initial proceedings, Kwon reportedly expressed a preference for extradition to Korea . However, local experts in Montenegro suggest slim chances of overturning the extradition decision. An observer familiar with the legal landscape highlighted a prevailing sentiment among officials that Kwon’s prolonged presence draws unwanted attention.

All attention now shifts to the Montenegrin Court of Appeal, whose ruling on the extradition appeal will shape Do Kwon’s ultimate destination. This pivotal decision is poised to carry substantial implications, not only for Kwon personally but also for the broader cryptocurrency sphere.

A Complex Game of Legal Maneuvers and Political Influence

Do Kwon, the co-founder of Terraform Labs and the face of the collapsed Terra ecosystem, currently finds himself caught in a legal tug-of-war between the United States, South Korea, and Montenegro. While both the US and South Korea have extradition requests pending, neither has a direct treaty with Montenegro, necessitating alternative legal avenues.

Despite the lack of direct treaties, both countries possess legal tools to secure Kwon’s extradition potentially. Montenegro’s Law on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters provides a pathway, as it has been used previously to extradite individuals to the US. Additionally, both South Korea and Montenegro are signatories to the European Convention on Extradition, which offers another legal avenue.

While South Korea may have a stronger legal claim based on its more direct connection to the Terra ecosystem and its victims, the final decision ultimately rests with Montenegro . Political and diplomatic considerations are likely to play a significant role in this decision. Both Montenegro and South Korea may wish to avoid directly challenging the US, given their respective alliances .

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