South Korean prosecutors have identified 414.5 billion won ($314.2 million) in illicit assets associated with Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon and his associates. Out of the identified illegal assets, prosecutors have linked about 91.4 billion won ($69 million) of the specified amount directly to Kwon.
Although Kwon amassed millions, none of the assets tied to him are recoverable or under the jurisdiction of the South Korean authorities. This is mainly because the now-arrested former CEO reportedly converted most of the illicit funds into Bitcoin (BTC) using overseas crypto exchanges instead of investing in physical assets, per a report published by local media outlet KBS.
Early investigation into the Terra collapse by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Kwon siphoned nearly $100 million worth of Bitcoin from Terra post-collapse. In another report based on an SEC interview with former Terraform Labs, published in South Korean media, Kwon was accused of siphoning $80 million a month before the collapse of the Terra ecosystem.
The South Korean authorities have requested Binance to halt any withdrawal request associated with Kwon. Binance confirmed to Cointelegraph that they are cooperating with the prosecutors and offering any assistance they need.
“We provided Korean LE authorities with the requested assistance. Since we cannot comment on ongoing LE investigations, for any further comment please reach out to the prosecutors.“
South Korean prosecutors are actively tracing properties associated with Terraform Labs executives to recover some illicit funds from the Terra debacle. On April 3, prosecutors seized homes and other assets to stop former Terra employees from selling things that might be tied to legal cases.
In addition to the residences in Seoul owned by former CEO Shin Hyun-seong and others, the prosecutors also filed foreclosure actions against their foreign-registered vehicles, lands in Hwaseong and Gapyeong in Gyeonggi-do, and Taean in South Chungcheong Province.
Terra was a booming crypto ecosystem until its $40 billion collapse in May 2022.
What was initially thought to be a market-triggered event turned out to be a clear case of fraud, with former CEO Kwon at the epicenter. According to on-chain data, In the 3 weeks leading up to the depeg of the TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin, one entity dumped over $450 million of UST on the open market. Four days after the last sale, UST started collapsing. The entity behind the massive dump was none other than Terraform Labs.
TFL has been perpetrating the narrative that UST was “attacked”. This is a false flag. In reality, TFL themselves weakened the Curve pool by irresponsibly dumping a massive amount of UST in a short timeframe. This reduced liquidity and severely weakened the peg.
— FatMan (@FatManTerra) December 6, 2022
Despite an arrest warrant from South Korean authorities and an Interpol red notice against his name, Kwon continued to evade arrest for nearly a year before getting caught on March 23 in Montenegro.