Do Kwon, the founder of failed crypto project Terra, the leader of failing crypto project Luna 2.0, and man hiding from his native country’s prosecutors for alleged violations of financial securities law, is—all in all—“a little disappointed” in the way things are going for him.
On the latest episode of the Unchained Podcast released Tuesday, Laura Shin talked to Kwon extensively about allegations of fraud against his company as well as what the Terra Labs founder has been up to since South Korean law enforcement put a warrant out for his arrest. In September, prosecutors put a notice out for Kwon as well as five other top employees of his Singapore-based company for alleged violations of the country’s Capital Markets Act. Kwon, a native of South Korea, has avoided giving any hint of where he’s currently residing.
Kwon even claimed that he hasn’t actually seen the arrest warrant, though Shin points out the prosecutors posted a PDF of the warrant online since they haven’t been able to hand deliver it. The crypto founder then went on to claim the CMA charges are not “applicable,” the allegations against him are “politically motivated” and any charges centered around the CMA are not “legitimate.”
“We are a little bit disappointed with the way prosecutors are attempting to create new regulation through criminal enforcement proceedings,” Kwon told the podcast host. “Whereas that should really be in the job description of the legislature or at the very least the financial regulators.”
As a quick reminder, Do Kwon is CEO of Terraform Labs, the company behind the Terra and Luna crypto ecosystem that collapsed in spectacular fashion back in May once the Terra stablecoin became “depegged” from the price of the U.S. dollar. This set off a cascading effect throughout the entirety of the crypto ecosystem and has been one of the main causes for the ongoing “crypto winter” where the price of coins remain far lower than 2021 highs.
Shin explicitly asked Kwon if he was still in Singapore, the nation state where his company Terra Labs is based. The Terra founder said “it’s not in the interest of being on the run to not disclose where I live.” So far Kwon has evaded the police. Terra Labs had previously vacated their South Korea offices shortly before the collapse of the Terra Luna ecosystem. Kwon further said “the easier that I make it for people to figure out my location, the harder it is for me to continue regular life.”
When Shin asked Kwon why he hasn’t “returned to South Korea” after Seoul prosecutors put out a warrant for his arrest, Kwon tried to avoid the question saying he hasn’t been living in South Korea recently, “so it wouldn’t be accurate to say ‘returning to South Korea.’” Kwon is a South Korean native, and up until recently had at least owned a home in the country.
For those unable to sit through the full interview, Shin put up a few highlights to her Twitter.
Interpol has since been drafted into the search for the man who’s obviously avoiding arrest while still claiming he’s “not on the run” and is “making zero effort to hide.” South Korean prosecutors asked the international law enforcement body to issue a so-called “red notice” against Kwon, basically putting a target on the crypto founder’s head for any international police force. Still, the crypto founder said he’s looking to appeal that red notice. Korean officials have also tried revoking Kwon’s passport.
Being on the run hasn’t stopped him from operating his famed Twitter account. While retweeting a few other accounts sponsoring new projects based on his inane attempt to revitalize Terra with his Luna 2.0, he also offered some recent commentary on his pariah status. After South Korean prosecutors froze nearly $40 million in crypto ostensibly owned by Kwon, the failed crypto founder wrote “It’s no surprise that crypto is most popular in countries that weaponize state institutions against their own people for political gain.”
Kwon tried to wriggle out of the topic, saying “every sovereign nation can interpret a red notice.” As far as violating the Capital Markets Act, Kwon further tries to deny any wrongdoing by claiming “cryptocurrencies are not securities,” so he’s not liable to that law or the country’s financial crimes division. Kwon had previously told The Korea Times he would cooperate with the investigation, but he claimed in the interview that while he’s complying with prosecutors’ document requests, he’s still refusing to present his physical form to any police body.