Do Kwon likely won’t be extradited ‘before the end of March,’ say lawyers

    2024.02.28 | exchangesranking | 153onlookers

    Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon may not be extradited to the United States in time for the firm’s trial with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to his lawyers.

    In Feb. 26 filings in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, David Patton of Kaplan Hecker & Fink said Kwon “will likely not be extradited before the end of March” from Montenegro, where he has been since March 2023. According to the lawyer, his team expected Kwon to have already been extradited to the U.S., but “unanticipated mistakes” have slowed the process.

    “[Kwon] will likely not be present or able to attend at least the start of the trial scheduled to begin on March 25, 2024,” said Patton. “We provide this information purely as a status update for the Court [...] we will not seek any adjournment of the trial date regardless of the timing of Mr. Kwon’s ultimate extradition.”

    Feb. 26 filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Source: Courtlistener

    Goran Rodic, who represents Kwon for legal proceedings in Montenegro, said the country’s High Court made a Feb. 21 ruling to extradite the Terraform co-founder to the U.S. “based on erroneous information.” According to the lawyer, the Montenegrin court ruled based on the claim that the U.S. filed for extradition before South Korea when the opposite was true.

    “We have appealed the High Court’s February 21, 2024 decision in light of the illegality of the High Court’s decision ordering his extradition to the United States,” said Rodic. “The ‘summary’ process has taken far longer than we anticipated at the outset because of the numerous unanticipated mistakes made by the lower court. At this point, I do not expect Mr. Kwon will be extradited — to either South Korea or the United States — before the end of March.”

    The lawyers’ filings suggested that the United States would likely win the extradition battle with South Korea. Kwon was arrested in Montenegro for using falsified travel documents in March 2023 and has remained in the country for roughly a year as extradition requests were handled. Between the collapse of Terra in May 2022 and his arrest, his whereabouts were largely unknown.

    Related: Do Kwon to be extradited to the US, CZ’s passports seized: Law Decoded

    The SEC filed a lawsuit against Kwon and Terraform in February 2023, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the Terra co-founder with eight criminal counts in March 2023, shortly after his arrest. Kwon and Terraform were alleged to have orchestrated a “multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud” related to offering TerraUSD (UST) and Terra (LUNA).

    Judge Jed Rakoff, overseeing the civil case, granted summary judgment in December 2023 in favor of the SEC over Terraform allegedly offering unregistered securities. The trial date has already been delayed to potentially accommodate Kwon but will likely start on March 25. Former U.S. President Donald Trump will appear in the same court district on the same day to face his first criminal trial.

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