Do Kwon, founder and ex-CEO of the now-defunct Terraform Labs, has notched a minor victory after a court in Montenegro cancelled his extradition to the United States for the second time.
The appellate court of Montenegro accepted the appeal of Kwon’s defence lawyers in a panel session on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the court.
The High Court of Podgorica initially made the decision to deport Kwon in December. However, his attorneys lodged an appeal a few weeks later, and he was allowed to remain in Montenegro while the appellate court heard the case.
As per the Wednesday statement, the appellate court determined that the original extradition decision was affected by “significant violations of the provisions of criminal procedure” due to the “incomprehensible” wording of the decision.
“The decision has no reason for decisive facts, and the reasons given are unclear, which is the reason for its cancellation,” the appellate court added.
The statement went on to indicate that the lower court disregarded the order of arrival of the requests for extradition, suggesting that South Korea was the first to seek deportation of the disgraced crypto mogul.
Kwon’s case will now return to the first-instance court for retrial and decision.
The Terra creator has been in Montenegro since last year and recently served a four-month jail sentence for attempting to flee to Dubai with falsified documents. Notably, there has been a jurisdictional clash over deporting Kwon to the U.S. or his native country, South Korea, in the aftermath of Terra’s implosion in May 2022. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Kwon orchestrated a mammoth crypto securities fraud resulting in multibillion-dollar losses by users.
Montenegrin authorities extradited Kwon’s associate and former Terraform Labs chief financial officer, Han Chang-Joon, to South Korea on Feb. 5 — he faces a life sentence. The latest ruling delays a similar fate for Kwon.