South Korea demanded that Sygnum Bank freeze Do Kwon's billions
The South Korean authorities demanded the Swiss bank Sygnum freeze "billions" of Terraform Labs and its ex-head of Do Kwon.
South Korean and U.S. law enforcement authorities intend to fight not only for the extradition of the former Terra chief but also to gain access to the funds found in the Swiss bank
The South Korean authorities asked Swiss Sygnum Bank to freeze "billions" in the accounts of Terraform Labs (TFL) and its founder Do Kwon, reports the Korean edition of Digital Assets. U.S. authorities have made a similar request, but the priority of these appeals is not yet clear.
"Billions of won remain in the bank accounts of Terraform Labs and its head Do Kwon in Sygnum bank accounts," prosecutors said at a press conference.
Sygnum is a cryptocurrency bank founded in 2017 in Zurich. The bank holds cryptocurrency service provider licenses in Switzerland and serves a number of institutions, including cantonal and commercial banks.
In mid-February, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Kwon and TFL for an unregistered securities issue, claiming that "Kwon transferred 10,000 BTC (about $273 million) to the Swiss bank." According to the South Korean prosecutor's office, that bank turned out to be Sygnum.
"We continue to trace bitcoins belonging to companies and individuals associated with TFL, some of which were converted into fiat funds and transferred to Sygnum's account of about $100 million (approximately 130 billion Korean won), as stated in the SEC complaint," the investigators said.
They said less than $100 million remained in the Sygnum accounts because some of the funds were spent for various purposes, including money transferred to the Kim & Chang law firm account (to pay attorneys' fees). The remaining amount is about several billion Korean won, the prosecutor explained. On April 25, $1 is worth about 1,300 Korean won (KRW).
Prosecutors said that both South Korean and U.S. law enforcement agencies have requested that Sygnum's accounts be frozen. It is not yet known whose request will be considered first, as the Swiss government and the bank are to review the matter.
Prosecutors said they plan to do "everything possible" to extradite Kwon to South Korea. U.S. authorities also intend to seek his extradition. The former TFL chief is in prison in Montenegro, facing charges of forgery. If Kwon is convicted of document fraud in Montenegro, he is not expected to be extradited until after serving time in a local prison.