The latest move by South Korean authorities in their crackdown on crypto fugitive Do Kwon is to prevent him from accessing his purportedly held cryptocurrencies on Binance. They are taking measures to block Kwon’s access to digital assets with the help of the crypto exchange in their efforts to bring him to justice for his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud.
South Korean prosecutors are intensifying their efforts to capture Do Kwon, a crypto fugitive. The authorities have now requested assistance from Binance officials to prevent Kwon from accessing his alleged crypto holdings on the exchange. According to KBS News, Kwon’s criminal proceeds amount to approximately $69 million (91.4 billion won), as per one accounting of the former Terraform Labs CEO’s alleged crimes.
According to South Korean authorities, there is no evidence of any property owned by Do Kwon in the country. However, many industry insiders and local officials believe that Kwon converted a significant portion of his real estate assets in Korea into bitcoin and transferred them to a foreign crypto exchange.
Binance has reportedly responded to the prosecutors’ request to prevent Kwon from withdrawing any of his crypto assets. However, the exchange has not disclosed any details of the ongoing investigation, stating that it cannot comment on it. A Binance spokesperson confirmed that they have provided assistance to the Korean authorities upon their request.
According to KBS News, Terraform Labs executives gained control of 414.5 billion won ($314 million) in criminal proceeds. In light of this, prosecutors attempted to freeze assets belonging to these same executives. Their efforts included trying to foreclose apartments in Seoul that belonged to former Terraform Labs co-founder Shin Hyun-Seong, as well as land in two other cities, and related vehicles.
South Korean prosecutors have reportedly interrogated Shin Hyun-Seung, who allegedly cut ties with Do Kwon in 2020, as part of their crackdown on the former Terraform Labs executives. However, they have been unsuccessful in obtaining an arrest warrant for him, as a judge ruled that there was a lower risk of Shin fleeing or tampering with evidence.
Freezing assets is a common tactic used by law enforcement to prevent individuals accused of financial crimes from liquidating or moving their wealth before or during a court proceeding. In this case, prosecutors are attempting to prevent Do Kwon and his former associates from accessing and using the substantial amounts of money they are accused of having acquired through illegal activities. The authorities are also reportedly targeting properties and vehicles believed to be owned by the accused in an effort to seize any assets that can be traced back to the alleged criminal activities.
Last month, Do Kwon and his business partner Hon Chang-soon were taken into custody in Montenegro while trying to fly to Dubai. While South Korea and the US have requested their extradition, it may be some time before any decision is made. Meanwhile, both Kwon and his associate are being investigated for possessing false documentation. The arrest marks the latest development in the ongoing pursuit of Kwon by South Korean authorities, who have been trying to bring him to justice for allegedly embezzling funds from Terraform Labs. Despite his attempts to flee, Kwon’s assets remain frozen and authorities continue to work towards holding him accountable for his alleged crimes.
In the aftermath of the arrest of Do Kwon and Hon Chang-soon in Montenegro, South Korea, and the US have requested their extradition to face charges related to their alleged financial crimes. According to a report by Blockworks, Montenegro’s justice minister, Marko Kovac, has confirmed that South Korean authorities are seeking the extradition of both Kwon and Kim, while US officials are only seeking Kwon’s extradition. However, the extradition process is expected to take some time as Kwon and his associates are currently being investigated for possession of false documents.