Interpol Issues ‘Red Notice’ for South Korean Crypto Founder Do Kwon

SEOUL — Interpol has issued a “red notice” for the search and arrest of Do Kwon, the South Korean co-founder of Terraform Labs, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office said on Monday. The South Korean authorities had requested assistance from the global police agency to trace Mr. Kwon’s whereabouts earlier this month.

Mr. Kwon and his company faced investigations by the South Korean government after the value of his cryptocurrencies, Luna and TerraUSD, plummeted and contributed to a $300 billion crash across the crypto economy in May. The plunge caused an uproar among investors and led to calls for an inquiry into Mr. Kwon and his company after allegations of tax evasion and fraud.

The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Kwon and five others last week on charges of violating the country’s financial laws. Mr. Kwon was believed to be in Singapore at the time. According to local media in Singapore, the police say he is no longer there.

Mr. Kwon took to Twitter after the South Korean arrest warrant was issued to say that he was willing to cooperate with investigators. “I am not ‘on the run’ or anything similar,” he wrote. According to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, prosecutors responded by saying that Mr. Kwon was “obviously on the run.”

According to Interpol, a “red notice” informs law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate and temporarily arrest a fugitive pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action. Should Mr. Kwon be arrested outside of South Korea, he will need to be repatriated. South Korea does not have an extradition treaty with Singapore. South Korean prosecutors have put in a request to have Mr. Kwon’s passport invalidated, according to officials.

After experiencing its first cryptocurrency boom in 2017, South Korea quickly became one of the world’s largest markets for virtual currency, ranking third in 2019, only behind the United States and Japan. The nation’s cryptocurrency assets grew to 55 trillion won, or about $46 billion, at the end of last year, with over 15 million registered users of trading platforms, according to the country’s Financial Services Commission.

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