Binance Providing ‘Requested Assistance’ in South Korea’s Do Kwon Case
South Korean authorities are moving to cut off Do Kwon’s access to cryptocurrencies purportedly held by Binance on his behalf
Grey82/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks
Prosecutors in South Korea are continuing their crackdown on crypto fugitive Do Kwon.
In their latest move, the country’s authorities have reportedly asked Binance officials to step in to prevent Kwon from withdrawing any of his crypto assets purportedly kept on the crypto exchange.
KBS News reported Friday that one accounting of former Terraform Labs chief executive’s criminal proceeds adds up to 91.4 billion won ($69 million).
South Korean authorities told the publication that there were no records of property owned by Kwon in the country. But the thinking of a number of industry participants, as well as local officials, is that Kwon converted a big chunk of his Korea real estate holdings to bitcoin and transferred it to a foreign crypto exchange.
Binance told Blockworks that it responded to the prosecutors’ request, adding that the exchange cannot comment on the ongoing investigation.
“We provided Korean [law enforcement] authorities with the requested assistance,” the spokesperson said.
KBS separately reported that Terra executives took control of 414.5 billion won ($314 million) in criminal proceeds.
Prosecutors then reportedly attempted to put a hold on asset owned by those same executives, including via efforts to foreclose Seoul-based apartments owned by former Terraform Labs co-founder Shin Hyun-Seong, as well as land in two other cities, plus related vehicles.
Shin Hyun-Seung, who is said to have cut ties with Do Kwon in 2020, was reportedly interrogated recently by South Korean prosecutors. But they have failed to convince courts to issue an arrest warrant for him, with a judge saying it’s less likely that Shin would run off or hide evidence.
Freezing assets generally is a move to block those accused of financial crimes from selling or improperly shuffling their wealth around before or during a court proceeding.
Do Kwon and his business associate Hon Chang-soon were arrested in Montenegro last month while attempting to fly to Dubai.
Both South Korea and the US have made official extradition requests to Montenegro, but that process isn’t expected to play out any time soon. Him, as well as at least one associate, are currently being investigated for possession of false documents.
Marko Kovac, Montenegro’s justice minister, has said South Korean counterparts are asking for the extradition of both Kwon and Kim, as previously reported by Blockworks. US officials, meanwhile, are said to be only after Kwon.
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