South Korean prosecutors have confirmed that Do Kwon, chief of Terraform Labs, sent a large sum of money to a top law firm in the country just before the collapse of the firm’s stablecoin terra and cryptocurrency luna a year ago, which created a domino effect in the industry.
Over the next few months, Kwon sent a total of 9 billion won ($3 million) to Kim & Chang. Singapore law enforcement are also investigating the source of funds sent to the law firm. According to outlet KBS News, if Kwon liquidated illicit cryptocurrency assets to pay lawyers, embezzlement charges can be brought. Authorities from both countries hope to seize the funds.
Kim & Chang is well-known in South Korea for representing high-profile clients in a wide array of scandalous cases.
- It represented Oxy Reckit Benckiser in a prominent court case that kicked off in 2011. A humidifier sanitiser provided by the British company killed more than 14,000 people in South Korea.
- Kim & Chang have also represented Audi Volkswagen Korea in its diesel emission scandal in 2018.
- The firm handled Uber chief Travis Kalanick’s case wherein he paid an $18,000 fine for launching Uber illegally in the country back in 2014.
The timing of Kwon’s payments to Kim & Chang are also of note. Sending money to legal representatives before the crash occurred suggests Kwon was aware the event was about to happen, and pre-emptively expected legal trouble. Prosecutors believe this will help their fraud case against Kwon.
Attorney Choi Chang-min told KBS News, “The fact that they sent a large sum of money to a large law firm before the crash could be seen as a situation in which they were prepared for judicial risks such as the prosecution’s investigation.”
Kwon’s crypto assets are still at large. On Thursday, it was reported that South Korea will seize $5 million of his funds. He’s currently held in grim conditions in Montenegrin jail where he’ll face charges of document forgery before being extradited to either South Korea or the US.