Terra Founder Do Kwon Triumphs in Appeal Against U.S. Extradition

Do Kwon, the co-founder and CEO of blockchain platform Terra, has won his appeal against extradition to the United States. 

According to an official statement released on March 5, the Appellate Court of Montenegro has annulled the decision made by the High Court of Podgorica to authorize the extradition of Kwon to the United States. The ruling represents a significant turn of events in the legal proceedings regarding the Terra founder’s extradition.   

The Appellate Court panel contended that the earlier ruling by the High Court in Podgorica was affected by “significant violations of the provisions of criminal procedure” under local laws. 

“There are no clear and valid reasons for decisive facts regarding the order of arrival request letter,” the panel said.

The recent verdict by the Appellate Court of Montenegro adds another event to the prolonged saga of Kwon’s extradition process since his arrest in Montenegro in March 2023. Following his arrest, both the United States and South Korea submitted extradition requests, sparking primary debate over whether the Terra founder should return to his home country. 

In December 2023, the Appellate Court of Montenegro revoked Kwon’s extradition authorization to the United States or South Korea. The court argued that the case should be remanded to the Podgorica Basic Court for a retrial. However, in November 2023, the High Court of Podgorica previously determined the requirements for Kwon’s extradition, leaving the ultimate decision regarding Kwon’s extradition to Mr Andrej Milović, Montenegro’s Minister of Justice.   

Terra Labs, the firm responsible for the Terra blockchain, renowned for its Terra stablecoin, suffered a significant collapse in May 2022 amidst allegations of fraud. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Terra Labs and its co-founder Kwon organized a fraudulent scheme that resulted in the market’s disappearance of at least $40 billion.  

Meanwhile, the latest legal verdict is a win for Kwon but the case will be reviewed further by the same court that initially ruled on the matter. As such, Kwon’s extradition is not entirely annulled, pending further judicial proceedings.