In his home country, Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon faces fraud charges related to the $60 billion collapse of his algorithmic stablecoin project in May 2022. So far, all attempts to locate and arrest a fallen crypto founder have been unsuccessful, despite him being subject to an active Interpol Red Notice.
A delegation of two high-profile South Korean officials from the Seoul Prosecutors’ Office and Justice Ministry traveled to Serbia last week to seek assistance from the Serbian government in their hunt for crypto fugitive Do Kwon, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The Seoul office vaguely confirmed the visit, saying that the reports “aren’t false.”
According to Forkast, the delegates were Dan Sung-han, the director for Financial and Securities Crimes under Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office, and Lee Ji-hyung, director of the International Criminal Affairs Division in the Ministry of Justice.
Do Kwon, whose full name is Kwon Do-hyung, founded Terraform Labs, the parent company of crashed stablecoin UST and its sister coin Luna in 2018, together with a partner Daniel Shin, who later left the business. The eccentric and brash 30-year-old founder quickly became one of the most recognizable figures in crypto, only to fall from grace in a matter of days, when selling pressure on UST resulted in the failure of the stablecoin’s algorithmically maintained peg.
Starting from May 9, UST price fell to $0.06, while Luna slumped by more than 99%, effectively wiping $60 billion off the crypto market. Terra’s swift demise set off a domino chain of failures and liquidations across the industry, bringing down Three Arrows Capital, Voyager Digital, Celsius Network, BlockFi, and, to a lesser extent, FTX and its sister quant trading firm Alameda Research.
On September 14, roughly two months after Terra's collapse, South Korean authorities issued an arrest warrant against Kwon on charges of violating the country’s capital markets law, but a failed CEO was nowhere to be found. Prosecutors indicated that Kwon had flown from Singapore — where Terraform Labs was headquartered — and landed in Dubai before leaving for the third country.
On numerous occasions, Do Kwon denied being on a run and reiterated that he is open to cooperation with authorities, even teasing to pay for the plane tickets for “cops from world over.” The fugitive founder also maintains that charges brought on him by South Korean law enforcement are politically motivated.
On December 11, South Korean-based publication Chosun Media reported that Do Kwon is likely to hide in Serbia, where he registered his address with local authorities. The Balkan nation currently has no extradition treaty with South Korea. However, both countries agreed to the European Convention on Extradition, so technically Kwon can be handed over by Serbia at the request of the prosecutors.
What’s more, South Korea has revoked Kwon’s passport, which can complicate his future travel plans. However, when asked about it during an interview with Unchained Podcast, Do Kwon responded "Oh, I'm not using it anyway, so it doesn't, I can't see how that makes a difference to me,” which may indicate that he holds another travel document.