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Montenegrin Justice Minister: Do Kwon Extradition Sought by US, South Korea


Montenegrin police officers escort an individual who is believed to be fugitive Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon, a South Korean citizen, in Montenegro's capital Podgorica, March 24, 2023.

Authorities in Montenegro say the United States and South Korea have asked the Balkan nation to extradite South Korean Terraform Lab founder Do Kwon, who is suspected in those countries of cryptocurrency fraud amounting to more than $40 billion.

"Two Koreans wanted by South Korea, Do Kwon and the company’s chief financial officer, Han Chang-joon, were detained when they attempted to cross the state border with passports that are reasonably suspected of being forged," said Montenegrin Justice Minister Marko Kovač at a news conference Wednesday, stating that the United States also requested the extradition of Do Kwon from Montenegro.

Through diplomatic channels

Kovač said that "a meeting was held with the diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Korea at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice of Montenegro, after which a petition for the extradition of these two persons was handed over by the Republic of Korea, while the extradition of Do Kwon was also requested by the U.S."

"The U.S. requested the extradition of Do Kwon through diplomatic channels, in the same way that a temporary arrest was requested," said Kovač, adding that both countries also requested the equipment found with the detained.

After their detention at the Podgorica airport, the District Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation of the criminal offense of falsification of documents, after which they were detained for 72 hours, and ordered to spend 30 days in custody.

Montenegro to decide extradition hearing date

"The High Court in Podgorica will decide when these persons will have a hearing in the extradition proceedings," Kovač said.

He added that in the event of multiple requests for extradition from several different countries, the seriousness of the crime, the locality where the crime was committed, the order of receiving the requests for extradition as well as other circumstances will be considered.

Kovač said that if the suspects are convicted of falsifying identification documents, it is expected that only after they have served their prison sentence will they be extradited.
According to Montenegro’s criminal code, falsifying personal documents is punishable by up to five years in prison.

This story originated in the VOA Serbian service.

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