The trial of Terraform Labs and Do Kwon commences in New York City subsequent to their release from prison.

The trial initiated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, is scheduled to commence in a Manhattan federal court on Monday. However, the absence of the former cryptocurrency tycoon is notable.

The process of selecting a jury has begun for Kwon’s trial with the SEC in New York City.

The highly anticipated civil trial arises from the SEC’s initial complaint lodged against Kwon back in February 2023, which stemmed from the significant collapse of Terraform Labs’ TerraUSD “stablecoin” in May 2022, precipitating a staggering loss of over $40 billion in market value.

In a poignant statement during the onset of the case, Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, underscored the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that the Terraform ecosystem was fundamentally flawed, lacking decentralization and financial integrity. He highlighted the alleged fraudulent nature of the setup, labeling it as a scheme supported by a purportedly algorithmic “stablecoin” whose price was purportedly manipulated by the defendants rather than by any inherent code.

Kwon finds himself at the center of accusations pertaining to violations of the registration and anti-fraud provisions of both the Securities Act and the Exchange Act. Despite the sensational nature of the allegations, it’s essential to recognize that civil trials of this nature often culminate in substantial financial penalties or injunctions rather than custodial sentences for convicted individuals.

A legal showdown ensues between the United States and South Korea over the fate of Kwon.

Monday’s trial begins shortly after Kwon’s release from a Montenegrin prison on Saturday, while the country’s Supreme Court deliberates on his extradition destination.

Both the United States and Kwon’s home country of South Korea have been embroiled in a legal tug-of-war over his extradition, resulting in a plethora of international legal obstacles regarding the fate of the crypto fugitive.

South Korea initially issued an arrest warrant for Kwon in September 2022, citing violations of the country’s national markets law. This led to an extensive manhunt spanning nearly a year for the founder of Terraform Labs across Europe and Asia.

Kwon was eventually apprehended in Montenegro in March 2023, after attempting to board a flight to Dubai using a forged Costa Rican passport. Prior attempts to locate him included the issuance of an Interpol red notice for his arrest.

Upon his capture, Kwon was sentenced to four months in Montenegro’s Spuž Prison on charges related to document forgery. Subsequent to his release over the weekend, authorities have restricted the use of Kwon’s passport in an effort to prevent him from absconding from the country.

The collapse of Terra marked a significant turning point in the cryptocurrency landscape.

The collapse of Terra is widely viewed as having inflicted substantial harm on the cryptocurrency ecosystem. According to blockchain analytics firm Nansen, this collapse triggered the eventual downfall of the crypto exchange FTX.

Later this week, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is anticipated to return to Manhattan federal court for sentencing after being convicted of crypto fraud in November 2023. The timing and location of Kwon’s extradition remain uncertain at present.


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