Got him! Interpol confirm man arrested in Montenegro is Do Kwon
Interpol has confirmed a man arrested yesterday at Podgorica airport in Montenegro is Terraform Labs fugitive Do Kwon.
The suspect’s fingerprints were sent to detectives in South Korea last night and a positive match was made.
This morning, the 31-year-old – who faces a string of fraud charges – was also charged by Podgorica courts with forging official documents after police officers discovered fake Costa Rican passports and a separate set of Belgian passports in the luggage of Do Kwon and a companion named as Han Chang-joon.
The pair were held before boarding a flight to Dubai. It is believed both suspects will be extradited to Seoul in the coming days.
Kwon Do-hyung, or ‘Do Kwon’ as he is more widely known, disappeared in September around the same time as legal chiefs in South Korea issued an arrest warrant.
Yesterday, Montenegro’s interior minister Filip Adzic announced a man detained at Podgorica airport was believed to be the missing co-founder of Terra who is wanted over accusations on defrauding thousands of cryptocurrency investors.
“The person is suspected of being one of the most wanted fugitives, South Korean national Do Kwon, a co-founder and CEO of the Singapore-based Terraform Labs,” Adzic said.
“The former cryptocurrency king who is behind losses of over $40 billion, has been apprehended at the Podgorica airport with forged documents. The same person is being sought by South Korea, the United States and Singapore.”
Seoul’s central court issued a warrant for the arrest of the developer together with five other Terra employees six months ago. The arrest documents listed a series of allegations pertaining to violations of South Korea’s capital markets law.
Do Kwon was not expected to resist the warrant or go through a lengthy process of extradition to his homeland of South Korea, as the Stanford University-educated father-of-one said several times that he would be willing to cooperate with authorities over the collapse of Terra.
In a YouTube interview he was probed about the prospect of spending time in jail over his part in the scandal, to which he responded by saying “life is long”.
It is estimated that more than 200,000 investors were affected by the demise of the Terra USD stablecoin and the Luna token. More than 2,000 individuals are currently processing law suits against Do Kwon.
Leading up to the collapse, Kwon had spent months mocking global financial experts who warned that Terra’s business model was fatally flawed.
When critics – including UK economist Frances Coppola – lambasted Terra’s ‘algorithmic stablecoin’, Kwon responded publicly by labelling them ‘cockroaches’.
In other unseemly spats he said he drew entertainment from watching companies collapse, before answering a question on where yield reserves from the ‘Anchor Protocol’ were coming from with a bizarre “Your mom, obviously”.
Prior to their collapse, both Terra USD and Luna had a combined value of more than $60 billion. In May 2022, they became almost worthless and, in the eyes of many analysts, lit the fuse on a wider cryptocurrency crash.
Kwon also became a father for the first time last year, naming his daughter ‘Luna’ – his ‘dearest creation named after my greatest creation’.
Last summer, he was asked if the name had now burdened his daughter with a lifetime of association to a massive financial failure.
“Let’s just say I have an incentive to make sure that her name isn’t something she should be ashamed of, but something that she can be proud of,” he replied.
“We’re not going to change her name or anything like that.”
Last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil lawsuit against Terraform Labs and Do Kwon.