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South Korean Authorities Freeze Former Terraform Labs CEO's Assets Amid Criminal Charges

Legal Action Targets Do Kwon's Assets as Investigation Continues

Thu, 11 May 2023, 10:54 am UTC

In a recent development, South Korean legal authorities have obtained a freeze on approximately 233.3 billion Korean won (around $176 million) worth of assets owned by former Terraform Labs CEO, Do Kwon, as he faces ongoing criminal charges. The South Korean officials have taken action against Kwon by freezing his personal assets.

According to a report by local news outlet Hankyung on May 10, the 12th Criminal Division of the Seoul Southern District Court, presided over by Chief Judge Yoon Chan-young, granted the prosecutors' request to freeze Kwon's properties. The frozen assets include the Galleria Foret residential complex in Seongdong-gu, Seoul, a recently acquired office in Nonhyeon-dong, and various imported vehicles.

In addition, the court has prohibited the sale of Kwon's financial holdings, which include securities held at Mirae Asset Securities, funds deposited at Woori Bank, and digital currencies stored in personal wallets on various exchanges. South Korean legislation mandates that any assets or proceeds obtained through illegal means must not be disposed of by the accused until a conviction is secured.

Last week, the head of the joint financial crimes division at the Seoul Southern District revealed to The Wall Street Journal that Kwon could face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty. The collapse of Terra's Luna and the UST algorithmic stablecoin in May 2022 had a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market, leading to a bear market that some argued was worse than the crash in 2018. This resulted in a substantial decline in the value of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, as well as the insolvency of prominent players like Three Arrows Capital.

Kwon's situation has drawn comparisons to the notorious case of Elizabeth Holmes, who made exaggerated promises to investors about her company, Theranos, which ultimately failed to deliver. According to the SEC, Terraform Labs collaborated with American trading firms to create the illusion that UST's self-regulating algorithm effectively maintained its price pegged to one dollar. The regulatory agency alleges that through these partnerships and other direct methods, the embattled crypto entrepreneur and Terraform Labs regularly intervened in the market for Luna and TerraUSD.

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