Crypto fugitive Do Kwon, co-founder of Terraform Labs, says he isn't hiding from authorities

Officials have accused Do Kwon and five others of crimes including breaches of capital markets law. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL - Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon, who faces charges in South Korea over a US$60 billion (S$86 billion) cryptocurrency wipeout, denied he is in hiding after the authorities said Interpol had issued a red notice for his arrest.

Kwon took to Twitter on Monday to say that he is "making zero effort to hide", adding that he goes on walks and to the malls. 

Prosecutors in Seoul earlier said Interpol had requested law enforcement worldwide to locate and arrest the fallen 31-year-old crypto entrepreneur.

Officials have accused Kwon and five others of crimes including breaches of capital markets law.

Kwon earlier this year moved from South Korea to Singapore, where his now collapsed Terraform Labs project had a base, but his location became unclear after Singapore police on Sept 17 said that he was no longer there. 

South Korean prosecutors have said they issued an arrest warrant for Kwon in part because there was “circumstantial evidence of escape” ever since he left for Singapore. They also took issue with his earlier claim that he was cooperating.

Terraform Labs was behind the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin and sister token Luna. Both coins imploded in May, sparking huge losses in crypto markets and intensifying regulatory scrutiny of digital assets.

Terra’s collapse and the broader market rout led to the unravelling of Singapore-based Three Arrows Capital, a once high-flying crypto hedge fund. Contagion also buffeted lenders and brokers such as Voyager Digital and Celsius Network. 

TerraUSD, also known as UST, was meant to keep a constant value of US$1 in a complex arrangement involving Luna. But the system depended on confidence in the ecosystem created by Kwon, who studied computer science at Stanford University. Once the trust disappeared, the arrangement collapsed.

The Terra community split after the collapse of TerraUSD. The original tokens were rebranded as Terra Luna Classic and TerraClassic USD. Kwon, meanwhile, started a new Terra blockchain with a new Luna as its only token.

After plunging to as low as US$2.05 on Monday, the new Luna token jumped nearly 27 per cent to US$2.70 on Tuesday, data from CoinGecko showed. Luna Classic is up 57 per cent. TerraUSD, which never recovered its dollar peg but still trades on some venues, was up 22 per cent. BLOOMBERG

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