South Korea has started the procedure to cancel the passport of Singapore-based Kwon Do-hyung, which could take as little as a week, in a move that may lead to an international arrest warrant in relation to the collapse of a multibillion dollar cryptocurrency project this year.
Hwang Suk-jin, professor of information security at Dongguk University in Seoul, told Forkast the process of canceling a passport is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and can take seven to 30 days.
Canceling the passports is a measure that would make the suspects “illegal aliens” in Singapore, said Hwang, who has worked with South Korea’s law enforcement and the Ministry of National Defense.
Seoul has already issued a local arrest warrant for the South Korean national, known as Do Kwon, who headed Terraform Labs that created the Terra stablecoin and its sister cryptocurrency Luna.
The stablecoin and the Luna token imploded in May this year, evaporating an estimated market capitalization of US$37 billion, according to CoinGecko.
Choi Sung-kook at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office, which is overseeing the Terra-Luna case, told Forkast they have filed to cancel Do Kwon’s passport.
He said they have done the same for five other South Korean nationals that worked at Terraform Labs and are believed to be living in Singapore.
Do Kwon did not respond to Forkast’s request for comment via mobile text, while a Terraform Labs spokesperson declined to comment in an email response.
See related article: South Korea issues arrest warrant for Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon
Prosecutors will next request an Interpol Red Notice for Do Kwon, Choi told Forkast, without giving further details.
A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action, according to Interpol’s website.
Hwang said the move to cancel passports by prosecutors is probably because South Korea doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Singapore.
See related article: Securities or not? South Korea to evaluate Terra’s LUNA token
“For the red notice to lead to an actual arrest or imprisonment in Singapore, there needs to be a treaty on international judicial mutual assistance or the treaty on extradition,” Hwang told Forkast.
South Korea does not hold either of those treaties with Singapore, according to the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“They would have difficulty with only the red notice, hence they opted to nullify the [passports of the suspects] as well,” Hwang said, adding that this may lead to Singapore deporting them before the end of their valid visa, though this isn’t certain.
Do Kwon and the other five suspects may have other passports, but the Seoul prosecutors’ office declined to comment on that possibility.