Korean prosecutors say they have obtained an international wanted persons notice from Interpol to help them find Terraform Labs crypto exec Kwon Do-hyung, aka Do Kwon.
Kwon, whose company is headquartered in Singapore, has been quiet since the weekend of September 17, when his verified Twitter account sarcastically noted he hadn’t “gone running in a while” and needed to cut some calories, adding: “I will tell you what I am doing and where I am if: 1) we are friends 2) we have plans to meet 3) we are involved in a GPS-based web3 game. Otherwise you have no business knowing my GPS coordinates.”
As we reported, Singapore’s cops last weekend claimed he had left the city state, but Kwon denied he was “on the run.”
The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office claimed Kwon was “obviously” fleeing when he flew to Singapore in April this year, and dissolved the South Korea branch of Terraform Labs just days before the mega crash that wiped out investors’ money in the so-called stablecoin to the tune of $40 billion. Kwon said the timing was just a coincidence.
Prosecutors in the country want to chat to Kwon about allegations that he and his firm committed fraud and tax evasion filed by investors in cryptocurrencies tied to the Terra blockchain – TerraUSD and its sister token Luna (more on that here).
At the time of publication, there were no fugitives with his name on Interpol’s Red notice list – although only about 7,500 of the circa 69,000 valid notices are public and it can take up to a week for suspects’ names to appear. We asked Interpol to confirm the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office’s assertion, but it wouldn’t “comment on specific cases and individuals.” It added that the “majority of Red Notices are not made public.”
A Red Notice is a “request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action,” notes Interpol, which adds that it is not an arrest warrant and merely a “notice” to other police forces. Basically, only some countries treat it as if it were a warrant and carry out a discretionary arrest so the requesting country can start extradition proceedings etc. New Zealand, among other Interpol members, doesn’t.
In the European Union, Schengen states can refuse to follow an Interpol Red Notice seeking extradition of an individual to a third country, and member states usually prefer to use the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system. The UK has previously declined to give British police the power to arrest the subject of a Red Notice, although legal experts say this may change since the UK withdrew from the EAW scheme post-Brexit. Wherever he is, if he is indeed subject to a Red Notice, he might wish to swerve border patrol agents or airport cops.
Kwon’s Twitter account said earlier this month the company was “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.”
Julian Assange was famously the subject of a Red Notice just hours before the EU issued an EAW in late 2010. Assange is currently still fighting extradition to America from a maximum security British prison after a seven-year detour at the London Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge. ®