Prosecutors investigating Terraform Labs and its chief executive said Serbian authorities will “actively cooperate” in locating the South Korean national known as Do Kwon who is believed to be living in the European country and is wanted on fraud charges, the Seoul Prosecutors’ Office confirmed with Forkast.
Do Kwon, whose full name is Kwon Do-hyung, left his home in Singapore late last year after Interpol issued a “red notice’’ for his apprehension at the request of South Korea. Kwon has denied all the charges, which he has said are politically motivated.
The Seoul office confirmed a team of prosecutors visited Serbia last week and met with local authorities who offered to assist the investigation.
The team included 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. The visit was first reported by the local Chosun newspaper.
Hwang Suk-jin, professor of information security at South Korea’s Dongguk University, said the move reflects pressure to speed up the investigation and will add “considerable momentum” to the efforts to apprehend Do Kwon.
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“Usually such requests are made on paper between the authorities, but the Terra case is touchy, and there is a lot of attention from the public,” Hwang said in an email response to questions. “There are many long delays in asking for cooperation overseas, but if Serbian authorities are willing to actively help the process, I believe the expatriation will happen in the near future.”
Terraform Labs’ Terra-Luna cryptocurrency project collapsed in a matter of days from May 7, 2022, after the Terra stablecoin lost its U.S. dollar peg and saw its value plunge over 99% along with its sister Luna cryptocurrency. More than a quarter of a million investors were affected by the crash in South Korea alone, with many claiming to have lost their entire life savings.
Seoul Southern District prosecutors have sought Kwon and former members of Terraform Labs on charges including fraud and violation of capital markets law.
Kwon and Terraform Labs have said on multiple occasions that the accusations were baseless and politically driven.
“We would read media reports like, ‘Kwon is on the run,’ which is absolutely not true,” Kwon said in a podcast interview back in October. He also expressed his willingness to cooperate with any authorities investigating the fall of Terra-Luna.
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Legal experts in South Korea have also expressed concern about the charges against Do Kwon.
Crypto tokens were non-existent when South Korea’s Capital Markets Act was revised in 2006, so are not covered by the legislation, Koo Tae-on, a lawyer at South Korean law firm Lin who specializes in blockchain and crypto cases, told Forkast in an interview last month.
Koo said the prosecutors’ efforts to prove Terra-Luna sold unlicensed securities will be undermined unless amendments are made to the existing financial law.
Validating fraud charges will be even more lengthy and tricky, the lawyer said, since prosecutors will need to prove an “intent” to defraud investors from the inception of the crypto project.