Do Kwon says he’s not hiding as crypto manhunt mounts

The co-founder of collapsed cryptocurrency operator Terraform Labs has broken his silence after Interpol issued a red ad against him, stressing that he is not in hiding despite an escalating global manhunt.

Do Kwon has remained active on social media as he faces jail time in South Korea. He wrote on Twitter on Monday that he “makes no effort to hide. I go for walks and to malls,” suggesting his routine hasn’t changed.

“I’m writing code in my living room,” he said, adding that he didn’t see his name on Interpol’s Red Notice List. “For something that has a note in its name, there certainly isn’t a note,” he said.

Not all names on the Red Notice List are made available to the public. According to South Korean prosecutors investigating the case, Kwon left for Singapore in late April before the $40 billion terraUSD and Luna tokens imploded in May.

Kwon posted his location as Singapore on his Twitter account on Monday, but his whereabouts remained unclear after Singapore Police said this month he was not in the city-state.

South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday declined to say whether they had found out about Kwon’s whereabouts. “It’s difficult to track down and arrest someone. The situation changes every time. We’re doing our best to get him,” said the Seoul South District Procuratorate.

Experts said it could only be a matter of time before Kwon was arrested and extradited to his home country as law enforcement agencies around the world worked together to locate and arrest him. Kwon and five of his associates are accused by South Korean prosecutors of financial fraud and violating South Korea’s capital markets laws.

Prosecutors have also asked Seoul’s Foreign Ministry to cancel Kwon’s South Korean passport after he previously told law enforcement through his attorney that he had no intention of appearing for questioning.

The collapse of TerraUSD and Luna coins affected hundreds of thousands of investors, many of whom were drawn to a scheme where customers could lend their Terra for a 20 percent return.

Kwon faces class action lawsuits in South Korea and the US for allegedly deceiving investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission and South Korean prosecutors are investigating Terraform Labs’ marketing tactics amid allegations that Kwon and his company may have misled investors by calling terraUSD a stablecoin.

“Prosecutors are keen to punish him as an example, but whether he will actually be found guilty in court is another matter,” said Kim Hyoung-joong, head of the Cryptocurrency Research Center at Korea University. “In South Korea, there was no precedent where crypto investments were considered an investment contract, as claimed by prosecutors.”

Terraform management has denied any fraud or breach of financial regulations.

Video: The ongoing battle against crypto thieves | FT Tech Do Kwon says he’s not hiding as crypto manhunt mounts

Adam Bradshaw

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