Do Kwon: South Korean cryptocurrency boss jailed in Montenegro for forging documents

South Korean cryptocurrency entrepreneur, co-founder of Terraform Labs, Do Kwon (C), is taken to court in Podgorica  (AFP via Getty Images)
South Korean cryptocurrency entrepreneur, co-founder of Terraform Labs, Do Kwon (C), is taken to court in Podgorica (AFP via Getty Images)
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Fugitive cryptocurrency chief Do Kwon, the entrepreneur sought by the US and South Korea in connection with a $40bn crash, was sentenced to four months in prison by a court in Montenegro.

The 31-year-old South Korean national and Terraform Labs founder was found guilty of attempting to travel with a forged passport.

He was arrested by the Montenegrin police in March as he tried to board a flight to Dubai at Podgorica Airport.

Han Chang-joon, the former chief financial officer of Terraform Labs, was convicted of the same crime and handed a four-month sentence.

The two were charged with forging official documents and placed in 30-day pre-trial detention. Police said they recovered doctored Costa Rican passports and a separate set of Belgian passports.

Kwon and Chang-joon had pleaded not guilty at their first court hearing in May. The crypto boss reportedly told the court last week that he obtained the documents in Singapore through an agency selling citizenships of various countries and believed the passports to be genuine.

Time spent in detention is included in the prison terms, and the pair can appeal the verdict, the Basic Court in Podgorica said.

“Once we receive the verdict in writing, we will consult with our clients about possible appeal,” defence lawyer Goran Rodic told Bloomberg.

The court has up to 30 days to officially notify the defence as well as the prosecutor’s office, the lawyer added.

Both South Korea and the US have requested his extradition from Montenegro, while the courts in the country are yet to decide on those requests in separate proceedings.

Kwon and five others connected to Terraform Labs are wanted due to allegations of fraud and financial crimes in relation to the implosion of its digital currencies in May 2022.

The TerraUSD was designed as a “stablecoin", which are pegged to stable assets like the US dollar to prevent drastic fluctuations in prices.

However, around $40bn in market value was erased for the holders of TerraUSD and its floating sister currency, Luna, after the stablecoin plunged far below its $1 peg in May.

South Korea asked Interpol in September to circulate a “red notice” for Kwon across the agency’s 195 member nations to find and apprehend him.

US regulators in February charged Kwon and his company Terraform Labs with “orchestrating a multi-billion dollar crypto asset securities fraud”.