Montenegro Court Officially Revokes Extradition Approval For Do Kwon

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Reuters

The Appellate Court of Montenegro has accepted an appeal by Do Kwon’s attorneys – revoking the High Court’s decision to extradite the Terraform Labs’ founder to either South Korea or the USA.

Therefore, the Appellate Court has annulled the decision of the Higher Court in the country’s capital of Podgorica. It returned the case to the basic court for retrial and subsequent decision.

The High Court’s decision on November 17 established that the legal prerequisites for Kwon’s extradition were met. Both the USA and Kwon’s native South Korea have been trying for months to have him extradited to face fraud-related charges.

However, the December 19 official statement by the Montenegro Appellate Court stated that,

“Deciding on the appeal by the defendant’s attorneys, the Appellate Court has found that the [High Court’s] decision was affected by a significant violation of the [Criminal Procedure Code], which is rightly pointed out by the defense attorneys’ appeal, as the decision provides no reason behind the decisive facts, and the reasons given are unclear, which represents grounds to revoke the decision.”

Acting on the request by South Korea, the investigating judge heard Kwon, agreeing he should be swiftly extradited. The judge, however, did not hear the defendant in relation to the request for extradition to the USA.

This means that the High Court acted contrary to the relevant law, said the Court, which requires the investigating judge to inform the person why and where their extradition is requested, allowing them to present a defense.

‘Not Jurisdiction of High Court’

The Appellate Court was not done. It revoked another High Court’s decision.

The Podgorica High Court previously postponed Kwon’s extradition until his four-month prison sentence ended. Kwon was caught attempting to flee the country using falsified passports.

But the latest ruling states that,

“The [High Court’s] decision was revoked due to significant violations of criminal procedure provisions […] as the decision on whether extradition will be postponed does not fall under the jurisdiction of the court, which only determines whether the legal prerequisites for extradition have been met, but is within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice […].”

The case will go to retrial, and it will take a while before Kwon learns his fate.

He is wanted for numerous securities-law violations in connection with the May 2022 collapse of Terra and Luna. The crash cost the market an estimated $40 billion.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the Terraform Labs founder for committing fraud. South Korea also issued a warrant for his arrest. They’ve been battling for his extradition since.

Kwon and his alleged co-conspirator, Terraform Labs’ CFO Han Chang-Joon, were on the run in Asia and Europe and were caught in Montenegro last March.


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