Millennial Money

Do Kwon unlikely to be extradited before start of SEC trial

Do Kwon’s lawyers told a US court on Feb. 26 that the Terraform Labs co-founder will be unable to attend the initial hearings of the SEC trial.

The lawyers did not request an adjournment and said the trial could begin as scheduled on March 25 without Kwon’s presence, according to court filings.

Unforeseen complications

Kwon’s lawyer, David Patton, said that Kwon, currently in Montenegro, may not be extradited by the end of March due to unforeseen complications in the legal process. He added that these have derailed earlier expectations of a quick extradition.

Patton said the delay is primarily caused by “unanticipated mistakes” made by the Montenegrin court in charge of Kwon’s extradition case.

The filing includes a declaration from Kwon’s Montenegrin defense attorney, Goran Rodic, which highlights several issues with the high court’s extradition ruling.

Rodic criticized the Feb. 21 decision, claiming it was based on incorrect information regarding the timing of extradition requests by the US and South Korea. He also raised concerns over several procedural errors during the legal process.

Legal saga continues

Kwon was arrested by Montenegro in March 2023 for using falsified travel documents and has remained there since. The arrest came amid ongoing investigations following the collapse of Terra in May 2022, with Kwon’s whereabouts previously unknown.

Montenegro found him guilty of possessing forged documents and sentenced him to four months in prison. His extradition case has been ongoing in tandem.

The legal battle over his extradition involves both South Korea and the US. The two countries filed extradition requests with Montenegro following Kwon’s arrest.

The SEC’s lawsuit against Kwon and Terraform, filed in February 2023, and subsequent criminal charges by the US Attorney’s Office have placed Kwon at the center of allegations involving billions in crypto asset securities fraud.

In December 2023, Judge Jed Rakoff granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC, with the trial scheduled for late March 25.

Meanwhile, South Korea wants him extradited to face trial in his home country. Some of his former associates, including Terra co-founder Daniel Shin, have already faced trial over fraud charges.

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