Terra USD Bitcoin founder Do Kwon has been arrested in Montenegro after months on the run, according to Montenegrin officials.
Interior Minister Filip Adzic announced on Twitter that a suspect believed to be Kwon was arrested and detained at an airport in Podgorica, saying he was found in possession of false documents.
“Montenegrin police have detained a person suspected of being one of the most wanted fugitives, South Korean citizen Kwon, co-founder, and CEO of Singapore-based Terraform Labs,” Adzic tweeted.
The former Terraform CEO is wanted in South Korea for an investigation into his company’s collapse in May of last year, which set off last year’s disastrous crypto winter. A warrant was issued for Kwon’s arrest in September. Although Kwon claimed to not be on the run at the time, he disappeared from public view. He was reportedly living in Singapore before he disappeared and was spotted first in Dubai, and then Serbia before turning up in Montenegro.
Although the suspect has not yet officially been identified and local authorities are still awaiting confirmation, Adzic said they believe they have Do Kwon based on the age, name, and nationality on his identification card.
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TerraUSD collapsed last year, losing approximately $40 billion, and when Kwon refused to return to South Korea, an arrest warrant was issued for allegedly violating the country’s capital markets law. When he still refused to turn himself in, prosecutors issued a request to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry to revoke Kwon’s passport.
Interpol was looped into the search efforts but had no more success locating Kwon who posted on Twitter in September, “I am not ‘on the run’ or anything similar – for any government agency that has shown interest to communicate, we are in full cooperation and we don’t have anything to hide.”
He continued, “We are in the process of defending ourselves in multiple jurisdictions – we have held ourselves to an extremely high bar of integrity, and look forward to clarifying the truth over the next few months.”
Kwon is also being sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S. for alleged securities fraud. The commission claims Kwon and TerraUSD transferred 10,000 bitcoin, which is equivalent to millions of dollars, from the Terra/Luna project to a Swiss bank before the company went under. Kwon has denied the claims.
If found guilty of securities fraud, the SEC is trying to ensure Kwon is barred from crypto dealing and would be required to pay penalties for his illegal dealings. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a press release last month, “This case demonstrates the lengths to which some crypto firms will go to avoid complying with the securities laws, but it also demonstrates the strength and commitment of the SEC’s dedicated public servants.”