Montenegro says US, South Korea ask for extradition of crypto fugitive

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The United States and South Korea have sought the extradition from Montenegro of fugitive cryptocurrency entrepreneur Do Kwon, the country’s minister of justice said Wednesday, just days after he was arrested in the Balkan country.

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“A meeting was held with diplomatic representatives of Korea, after which Korea handed over an extradition demand,” justice minister Marko Kovac told reporters in Podgorica, adding that “the extradition of Do Kwon was requested also by the US.”

The Terraform founder is accused of fraud over his company’s dramatic collapse last year, which wiped out about $40 billion of investors’ money and shook global crypto markets.

Kwon, whose full name is Kwon Do-hyung, was arrested with a companion last week at the airport in the Montenegrin capital after being found travelling with fake travel documents.

On Friday, a Podgorica court said it had remanded both Kwon and his companion in custody for up to 30 days over suspected document forgery “due to flight risk.”

Kwon now faces two cases in Montenegro -- the first involving his alleged possession of forged documents and the second regarding his possible extradition.

Following his arrest, South Korea vowed to seek formal extradition. The US also charged Kwon with eight counts for allegedly “orchestrating a multi-billion-dollar crypto asset securities fraud,” according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Kwon reportedly flew from South Korea to Singapore before his company crashed in May last year.

In September, South Korean prosecutors asked Interpol to place him on the red notice list across the agency’s 195 member nations and revoked his passport.

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