handcuffs with gold bitcoin in the middle

South Korean prosecutors seize $176M belonging to Terraform Labs founder

After months of investigations, South Korean authorities are seizing $176 million worth of personal assets belonging to Terraform Labs founder Do Kwon.

Local investigators have received a court order to freeze the assets of the embattled Kwon amid criminal proceedings. The order, issued by Chief Judge Yun Chan-Young of the 12th Criminal Division of the Seoul Southern District Court, places a ban on the sale of frozen assets as they are suspected of being proceeds of crime.

The seized assets include a Galleria Foret apartment in an upscale area of Seoul, a plush office complex, and a car fleet. According to the wording of the order, the ban on the sale of Kwon’s assets extends all the way to other financial assets like securities and bank deposits.

Authorities traced security deposits belonging to Kwon to an account in Mirae Asset Securities and an undisclosed sum in Woori Bank. At the moment, it remains unclear how the prosecutors seek to confiscate Kwon’s holdings in digital currency holdings worldwide.

Under South Korean law, prosecutors may apply to the court for “preservation of collection” to prevent suspects from disposing of property obtained from the proceeds of crime. Similar orders have been obtained against Kwon’s former associates, including co-founder Daniel Shin leading to the seizure of over $104 million worth of assets.

Authorities previously announced that they failed to find a “single dollar” belonging to Kwon in South Korea, but his arrest in Montenegro may have unraveled new facts. Last month, prosecutors revealed that Do Kwon’s lawyers received $7 million weeks before the collapse of the Terra ecosystem.

“The fact that they sent a large sum of money to a large law firm before the crash should be seen as a situation in which they were prepared for judicial risks such as the prosecution’s investigation,” said an official from the Prosecutor’s office.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) further alleged that Kwon moved $100 million worth of BTC days after the collapse.

Jostling for Kwon

As the extradition for Kwon heats up, South Korean authorities have stated that Kwon would face a grim 40 years in prison if convicted in the country. The prosecutors argue that they have painstakingly gathered a treasure trove of evidence in South Korea, which the U.S. may not be able to obtain.

Both the U.S. and South Korea are scrambling to secure Kwon’s extradition from Montenegro, but the Montenegrin Justice Minister disclosed that it would weigh the cases of the competing nations before making a decision. Montenegro will consider the time of extradition application, the gravity of the offense committed, and other pertinent factors in dealing with the competing claims.

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