Do Kwon, the Terraform Labs founder who says he’s “making zero effort” to hide from South Korean authorities investigating him for violating the country’s capital markets laws may be “vacationing” in Europe.
South Korean prosecutors this week said local reports placing Kwon in Europe were “not false,” according to Bloomberg. Kwon, who’s been on the run from authorities for months has denied fleeing his native South Korea despite recently claiming he was residing somewhere in Singapore. The prosecutors used the same “not false” language when asked to comment on reports citing chat histories that appear to show Terra coin price manipulation. Kwon helped create the Terra coin.
In a seemingly rare move, Terraform Labs did eventually respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. A spokesperson told us in an email, “It’s highly disappointing to see the Korean prosecutors continue to try to contort the Capital Markets Act to fit their agenda and push baseless claims.” The spokesperson went on to say, “Prior judicial decisions and statements by the Korean financial authorities including the FSC establish that cryptocurrency tokens are not investment contract securities. The prosecutors’ latest comments are further evidence that the process has been fundamentally unjust, unsafe, and motivated by political goals from the start, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.”
Kwon became the source of an international manhunt for fleeing, sorry, “relocating” around the time his TerraUSD and Luna stablecoins collapsed. Those two coins plummeted from a market cap of around $60 billion to basically nothing in May, which in turn helped tank the price of Bitcoin and ushered in one of the worst crypto winters in the industry’s history. Investors, some of whom claim they lost their life savings in the chaos, accused Kwon of basically running a crypto ponzi scheme. Kwon maintains he moved to Singapore prior to the coins’ collapse.
Despite previously claiming he was in “full cooperation” with any government agency interested in communicating with him, Kwon’s shown no real interest in returning to South Korea. Prosecutors responded by sending a request to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry calling on them to revoke Kwon’s passport. Prosecutors subsequently enlisted the help international crime agency Interpol which issued a “red notice” against the founder. That alert effectively instructs law enforcement agencies worldwide to make an arrest.
The on the run founder responded to the recent reports regarding his whereabouts on Twitter Thursday saying he would “throw a meetup/conference soon to get over this in hiding bs.” Kwon went on to say “Cops from world over welcome to attend.”
“For those of you that have been spreading falsehoods on the taxpayers dime, you are invited with VIP honors,” Kwon said in a follow up tweet. The founder also posted a water gun emoji alongside the words “pew pew.” Nice.
Updated 11/7/2022 at 3:35 p.m. ET: Added statement from Terraform Labs.