South Korean prosecutors believe Do Kwon, the failed entrepreneur behind the $40 billion terraUSD and luna token implosion, is hiding in Serbia as they intensify their months-long global hunt for the disgraced crypto kingpin.
They are seeking to work with Serbian authorities to locate and detain him, according to the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating the collapse of Kwon’s cryptocurrency operator Terraform Labs.
Kwon has been accused of fraud and violating capital market laws in his home country following the collapse of his terraUSD and luna coins in May.
Prosecutors said in October that he went to an unknown country via Dubai after leaving Singapore, where Terraform was headquartered. South Korea revoked Kwon’s passport in November.
Interpol issued a red warrant against Kwon at Seoul’s request. South Korea does not have an extradition treaty with Serbia, but both countries have acceded to the European Convention on Extradition.
Investors have launched class action lawsuits against Kwon in Singapore and the US. Kwon denied any wrongdoing, although he apologized to the victims of the collapse of his blockchain system. He claimed that the South Korean accusations against him were not “legitimate” and were “politically motivated”.
“Despite Interpol’s red warrant, it will not be easy to arrest him and extradite him to South Korea,” said Kim Hyoung-joong, head of the Cryptocurrency Research Center at Korea University. “Kwon may have already fled to another country, given the lax border controls in Europe.”
The root cause of Kwon’s cryptocurrency collapse remains unknown, despite an expanded investigation by Korean prosecutors. They requested an arrest warrant for Daniel Shin, co-founder of Terraform Labs, but a South Korean court denied the request.
The New York Times reported last week that US federal prosecutors are re-investigating whether Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of failed crypto exchange FTX, and his hedge fund Alameda Research orchestrated the market manipulation that led to the collapse of Kwon’s twin coins.
Kwon posted a series of tweets last week, revealing how FTX, Alameda, and global crypto lender Genesis Trading contributed to the terraUSD/luna crisis and called on Bankman-Fried to release details of the key transactions that led to the coin’s downfall.
The collapse of FTX is also taking its toll on the South Korean crypto market as the services of Gopax, South Korea’s fifth largest crypto exchange, have been shut down and wemix, a native token issued by Korean game developer Wemade, has been removed from Korean exchanges. .