May 31, 2023

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Do Kwon: Interpol confirms arrest of encrypted South Korean defector in Montenegro

Seoul/Atlanta (CNN) Interpol says the man arrested in Montenegro is Kwon Do-hyung, also known as Do Kwon, the disgraced founder of a collapsing crypto company and wanted in South Korea and the US on fraud and other charges.

Kwon, a South Korean national, founded the blockchain platform behind stablecoin TerraUSD and sister coin Luna. Both coins lost their value in a matter of days in May 2022, wiping about $40 billion from the cryptocurrency market and sending panic into the speculative sector.

Kwon’s identity was confirmed through a fingerprint match, Interpol’s central office in Seoul told CNN on Friday.

The day before, Montenegro’s Minister of Internal Affairs Filip Adzic had written on social media that a man believed to be Kwon had been detained in the capital, Podgorica.

“He was arrested at the airport with false documents and is wanted by several countries, including the United States, South Korea and Singapore,” Adzic said in a statement. Facebook share.

Kwon was based in Singapore while running the Terraform Labs blockchain platform. Seoul prosecutors told CNN in December that the cryptocurrency entrepreneur was believed to be in Serbia, where he had been hiding after leaving Singapore via Dubai.

In September, a South Korean court issued Arrest warrant For Kwon, after being accused of fraud by investors in the country in the wake of the collapse of his company.

Kwon has been charged with fraud and violating South Korea’s capital markets law. He said in October He did not believe the charges were legitimate, and claimed they were “politically motivated”.

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The crypto developer has done it again and again claimed on Twitter that he was not a “fugitive”, but refused to disclose his whereabouts due to concerns about his personal security.

Terraform Labs was behind TerraUSD, a stablecoin that was theoretically supposed to hold a $1 price point.

The collapse of TerraUSD and Luna, two pegged currencies, kicked off the so-called “crypto winter,” from which the industry has been struggling to recover even as it goes through another period. Huge hit From the fall of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX in November.

CNN’s Jake Kwon contributed reporting