The law enforcers demand that the decision of the Supreme Court to extradite the businessman to Korea be canceled

Montenegrin prosecutor’s office has said that procedural norms were violated when deciding on Do Kwon’s extradition

22.03.2024 - 09:58

108

3 min

What’s new? The Prosecutor General’s Office of Montenegro has challenged the decision of the Supreme Court to extradite Terra blockchain founder Do Kwon to South Korea and refused to extradite him to the United States. According to law enforcers, the court conducted an abbreviated, rather than the usual procedure for considering the issue, and, exceeding its authority, made a decision on extradition, which can only be made by the Ministry of Justice.

Statement of the prosecutor’s office

What else is known? The claims of the Prosecutor's Office are related to violation of procedural norms and exceeding authority. In their petition to the Supreme Court for the protection of legality, law enforcers also noted that the Prosecutor General was not allowed to speak during the consideration of the appeal against the decision on extradition. In this connection, in their opinion, the court’s decision should be canceled.

In late February, the Supreme Court of Podgorica decided to extradite Kwon to the United States, rejecting the corresponding request of the South Korean authorities. The businessman’s lawyers successfully challenged the decision in the appeals court, after which the extradition case was sent for review. Following the review in early March, the Supreme Court decided to extradite Kwon to the authorities of South Korea, of which he is a citizen. On March 20, the decision was approved.

The court emphasized that it was guided by Article 26 of the International Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, which applies when the extradition of the same person is requested by more than one country. In accordance with this article, the decision was made in favor of Korea, as its authorities were the first to file an extradition request.

The US intended to challenge the decision because Kwon’s fraud trial was scheduled to begin in March, and the authorities expected to have him in the country by then. Industry experts believe the businessman would receive a much lighter sentence in his home country, and even Korean investors demanded that the decision be reconsidered and he be extradited to the United States.

In Korea, the maximum sentence for financial crimes is usually 30-40 years. In the US, on the other hand, the court can impose consecutive sentences for each crime a defendant is found guilty of. For example, the maximum sentence for Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, is 115 years in prison; prosecutors requested 40 to 50 years for him.

Also in the US, the founder of crypto mixer Bitcoin Fog, Roman Sterlingov, faces 50 years in prison for money laundering, while the head of crypto Ponzi scheme OneCoin, Karl Sebastian Greenwood, received 20 years in prison last year.

The collapse of the rates of the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin and the LUNA token in May 2022 caused $40 billion in losses to investors around the world. Authorities in South Korea and the United States accused Kwon and blockchain developer Terra of fraud and violating securities laws, while investors from several countries also filed class action lawsuits against the businessman.

After the collapse of Terra, Kwon was on the run, and only in March last year, he was arrested in Podgorica while trying to fly to Dubai using a fake passport, at which time he was already in the Interpol database.

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