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South Korea: Over $160M seized from Terra employees linked to 2022 collapse

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South Korean investigators have confirmed the confiscation of $160 million worth of assets from Terra employees suspected of playing a role in the firm’s implosion in 2022.

The Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office made the seizures from eight individuals. The financial and securities crime joint investigation team from the Prosecutor’s Office disclosed that the bulk of the seizures were real estate, with a fraction being in cash.

Law enforcement stated the seizures are necessary to prevent suspects from disposing of funds under investigation for the swift dispensation of justice.

“We are still investigating the property ownership status of the suspects, and we plan to carry out collection preservation for the confirmed property in the future in order to recover the proceeds of crime and recover damages,” said an official from the Prosecutor’s Office.

Terraform Labs affiliate CEO Kim Mo and an unnamed company executive lost real estate to investigators, reportedly worth KRW79.1 billion (US$60.2 million) and KRW40.9 billion (US$31.1 million). The affected individuals are accused of profiting unjustly from the sale of pre-issued LUNA tokens without making proper disclosures and other violations of the country’s capital market laws.

In November, the prosecution took things up a notch following the possession of Terra co-founder Daniel Shin’s home in Seongdong-gu after multiple raids in the offices of his payment company Chai Corporation.

Terra’s collapse in March 2022 cost investors losses in excess of $5 billion, particularly those holding its algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD (UST). The seizure made by South Korean officials is only a fraction of the amount required to make investors whole again, but pundits hope the arrest of Terra CEO Do Kwon will bring closure to interested parties.

Do Kwon’s arrest injects new life into investigators

Days after Kwon’s arrest in Montenegro, investigators rode the wave to apply for an arrest warrant for Shin for the second time. Despite their enthusiasm, the court denied their request on the grounds that Shin did not pose a flight risk nor showed a propensity to tamper with evidence.

South Korea is currently embroiled in an extradition battle with the U.S. for Kwon, but given the speech by Montenegrin Minister of Justice Marko Kovac, pundits believe that Kwon would be shipped to Seoul. South Korean authorities traveled to the region in February to open extradition talks with authorities weeks before Kwon’s arrest.

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