Do Kwon: Interpol confirms arrest of South Korean crypto fugitive in Montenegro
Interpol says a man arrested in Montenegro is Kwon Do-hyeong, also known as Do Kwon, the disgraced founder of a collapsed crypto company who is wanted in South Korea and the United States on fraud and other charges.
Kwon, a South Korean national, founded the blockchain platform behind the TerraUSD stablecoin and its sister coin Luna. Both coins lost their value in a matter of days in May 2022, wiping about $40 billion from the crypto market and setting off panic across the speculative sector.
Kwon’s identity was confirmed through a fingerprint match, Interpol’s national central bureau in Seoul told CNN on Friday.
A day earlier, Montenegrin Internal Affairs Minister Filip Adžić wrote on social media that a man believed to be Kwon was arrested in the capital Podgorica.
“He was arrested at the airport with counterfeit documentation and is wanted by several countries, including the USA, South Korea, and Singapore,” Adžić said in a Facebook post.
Kwon was based in Singapore while running the blockchain platform Terraform Labs. Seoul prosecutors told CNN in December that the crypto entrepreneur was believed to be in Serbia, where he was in hiding after leaving Singapore via Dubai.
In September, a South Korean court issued an arrest warrant for Kwon, after he was accused of fraud by investors in the country in the wake of the collapse of his company.
Kwon has been charged with fraud and breaches of South Korea’s capital markets law. He said in October that he didn’t believe the charges were legitimate, and claimed they were “politically motivated.”
The crypto developer has repeatedly claimed on Twitter that he was not “on the run,” but refused to disclose his whereabouts due to worries about his personal security.
Terraform Labs was behind TerraUSD, a stablecoin which in theory was meant to retain a $1 price point.
The collapse of TerraUSD and Luna, two linked coins, kick started the so-called “crypto winter,” from which the industry was struggling to recover even as it experienced another huge blow from the fall of crypto exchange FTX in November.
– CNN’s Jake Kwon contributed reporting