Montenegro top court refuses extradition of South Korean cryptocurrency leader

Montenegro’s highest court ruled Friday that it has reversed a decision to extradite a mogul known as “the cryptocurrency king” to his home country.The move marks another turn in a legal battle that has lasted for months in the case of Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, who was arrested in Montenegro last year.Both South Korea and the U.S. had requested Do Kwon’s extradition from Montenegro.Montenegrin courts initially ruled in favor of the U.S., but the ruling was later overturned in favor of South Korea’s request. The Supreme Court said Friday that a lower court should repeat the procedure and that the final decision lies with Montenegro’s justice minister.Kwon was charged in the U.S. with fraud by federal prosecutors in connection with a $40 billion crash of Terraform Labs’ cryptocurrency, which devastated retail investors worldwide.Kwon and another South Korean were arrested in Montenegro while attempting to leave for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, using fake passports. He has served a prison sentence in Montenegro for using a fake passport.Kwon and five others connected to Terraform had been wanted on allegations of fraud and financial crimes in relation to the collapse of its digital currencies in May 2022.TerraUSD was designed as a “stablecoin,” a currency which is pegged to stable assets like the dollar to prevent drastic fluctuations in prices. However, around $40 billion in market value was wiped out for the holders of TerraUSD and its floating sister currency, Luna, after the stablecoin fell below its $1 peg.