The long-awaited fraud trial against Terraform Labs and its cofounder Do Kwon may soon proceed – but only if the judge approves a delay requested by both the prosecution and defense.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Terraform Labs and Kwon in 2023, alleging a $40 billion cryptocurrency fraud relating to the collapse of stablecoin Terra USD in May 2022. Kwon was arrested in Montenegro shortly after, but has managed to stall extradition to the US – until now.
- The SEC has agreed to delay the civil trial against Terraform Labs and Do Kwon to April 15th to allow time for Kwon’s extradition from Montenegro
- Kwon has agreed to extradition to the US and could arrive by mid-March according to the SEC
- The judge has not yet agreed to the trial delay, despite both parties requesting it
- The SEC opposes holding separate trials for Terraform Labs and Kwon
- Kwon was originally scheduled to be extradited in December but an appeals court in Montenegro overturned the ruling
In a recent filing, the SEC explained its willingness to delay the trial date to April 15th, citing Kwon’s agreement to be extradited from Montenegro by mid-March. Kwon had requested an earlier March date through his lawyers. The agency believes the short postponement is justified to secure Kwon’s presence in court, given he has clearly expressed a desire to attend.
Judge Jed Rakoff will make the final determination on the trial date and whether separate court dates for Kwon and Terraform Labs are warranted. The SEC strongly opposes this, arguing the cases and allegations against the two defendants are virtually identical. Forcing whistleblowers and defrauded investors to provide repeat testimonies would place undue burden on them according to the agency.
Kwon was originally slated for imminent extradition in late 2022 when a Montenegro court approved his handover to US authorities to face criminal charges relating to Terra USD. However, an appeals court overturned the decision in December, determining there were significant procedural breaches. This cleared the path for Kwon to be transported to the US to stand trial in the SEC civil suit.
If found guilty of defrauding investors by concealing the instability risks of Terra USD, Kwon and Terraform Labs face disgorgements and financial penalties for orchestrating the spectacular $40 billion collapse. Kwon also faces separate criminal charges in South Korea and potential extradition there after legal proceedings wrap up in the US.