Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon has won a second appeal against the Montenegro High Court’s decision to uphold extradition requests from both the U.S. and South Korea.
The case will now head to the first-instance court for reconsideration based on the new ruling.
Court of Appeals Overturns Extradition Decision
Initially, Kwon had won an appeal in December, overturning the High Court’s decision in favor of the extradition requests. However, the same court reversed its decision at the end of December, reaffirming the validity of the extradition requests. Do Kwon then re-appealed the decision last month.
In January, the lawyer representing Kwon announced plans to appeal the High Court’s decision. Goran Rodic stated in an interview that local courts were under political pressure to facilitate the extradition process.
Kwon’s recent appeal was granted by the appellate court due to many violations of criminal procedure provisions. The court concurred with his legal team’s argument that the decision’s wording was unclear.
The trial court failed to adequately address the extradition requests from South Korea and the United States. At the same time, the High Court did not correctly apply the legal provisions of the extradition procedure.
The appellate court also clarified that according to Article 29 of the Law on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, the decision on extradition should be made by the Minister of Justice, not the regular procedure.
Former Terra CFO Extradited
The Montenegrin police recently 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, marking the conclusion of a six-month international manhunt.
The decision to extradite Han was made by the country’s Ministry of Justice, as stated in 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, offenses that carry a potential life imprisonment sentence in South Korea.
The collapse of Terra’s peg from the dollar in May 2022 resulted in its downfall and subsequent industry ramifications. Kwon was first detained in Montenegro in March on charges of using a counterfeit passport in an attempt to exit the country.
However, he was released from custody awaiting trial after posting a $436,000 bail in May. Later, in June, a Montenegro court convicted him of document forgery and sentenced him to four months in prison.