Montenegro Court Halts Extradition of Terra Co-Founder Do Kwon

Terra Luna founder Do Kwon wanted for trial in the US
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The Montenegro Court of Appeals has halted the extradition of Terra‘s co-founder, Do Kwon, to South Korea and the U.S., marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing legal saga surrounding the crypto entrepreneur. Kwon recently requested a delay of the trial in the fraud lawsuit of the U.S. SEC. While FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance founder Changpeng Zhao wait for their sentencing, Kwon’s court procedures in the U.S. have not yet started.

The appellate court’s decision to overturn the Montenegro High Court’s ruling on Kwon’s extradition sends the case back to the first instance court for a fresh trial and verdict. This turn of events follows an appeal by Kwon’s defense team, which argued that significant procedural violations marred the initial extradition proceedings.

Highlighting a critical aspect of legal procedure, the appellate court pointed out that the decision on extradition should fall to the court, not the Minister of Justice, as stipulated by Article 29 of the Law on International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. This clarification underscores the importance of judicial oversight in extradition cases, ensuring adherence to proper legal protocols.

The court sided with Kwon’s legal representation in critiquing the previous ruling’s clarity and its handling of the extradition requests from both South Korea and the United States. It noted procedural shortcomings that necessitated a reevaluation of the extradition process, aligning with the defense’s arguments for a more meticulous approach.

The implications of this ruling are significant for Do Kwon, providing him with a reprieve from extradition and the opportunity to mount a defense in Montenegro’s courts. This decision contrasts with the fate of Terraform Labs‘ former CFO, Han Chang-joon, who was recently extradited to South Korea following his prison term in Montenegro.

Do Kwon has been at the center of international legal attention following the dramatic collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022, which triggered a wave of bankruptcies in the crypto scene and marked the beginning of the Crypto Winter 2022/23. South Korea and the United States have both sought his extradition to face charges related to the debacle.

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