A South Korean court has approved local prosecutors’ request to freeze domestic assets and properties worth 233.3 billion Korean won (US$176 million) that belong to Terraform Labs chief executive officer (CEO) Kwon Do-hyeong, according to the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday.

See related article: From billionaire to Montenegro jail: The rapid rise and fall of Terra chief Do Kwon

Fast facts

  • Frozen assets and properties include Kwon’s private Seoul residence, real estate, imported automobiles, securities deposited with Mirae Asset Securities Co., deposits with Woori Bank, and cryptocurrencies in cryptocurrency exchanges, confirmed Kim Hee-kyung, spokesperson for the Seoul prosecutors’ office, to Forkast via text message.
  • Following the court’s decision, Kwon is now unable to move or sell the assets and properties equivalent to the amount of what prosecutors identify as his illegal profits — the amount will be confiscated after a final, potential guilty verdict from the court. 
  • “The 233.3 billion is the maximum amount of assets and properties equivalent to [Kwon’s] illegally earned profits that are up for restitution,” the spokesperson explained.
  • The prosecutors’ office declined to comment on further details of Kwon’s assets in South Korea or the progress of seeking cooperation from overseas authorities to freeze his assets outside of Korea. 
  • Kwon is wanted in South Korea and the U.S. where authorities alleged that the Terraform CEO had designed the Terra-Luna project and related decentralized finance services, to defraud investors. They also alleged that Kwon and Terraform serviced unregistered financial securities.
  • Dan Sung-han, the director of Seoul Southern District’s joint financial crimes team, told The Wall Street Journal last week that Kwon may face over 40 years in prison if convicted, which will be the heaviest sentence given to a financial crime in the country’s history.
  • Kwon has repeatedly denied all the allegations against him, maintaining that mistakes were made in the Terra-Luna crypto project managed by his Terraform Labs, but they were not designed to deceive investors.
  • South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Kwon in September 2022, but authorities have yet to interview him. He was said at the time to be living in Singapore, where Terraform Labs was based, before leaving to Serbia and then being arrested in Montenegro on March 23 this year for allegedly attempting to fly with forged travel documents.
  • The court hearing in Montenegro for Kwon’s travel document forgery charges will take place on May 11.

See related article: Prosecutor says Terra-Luna fugitive Do Kwon should face trial in South Korea: WSJ