When Terra’s two tokens, LUNA and the UST stablecoin, collapsed in May, they wiped out over $40 billion in investor funds and several billion more indirectly. Some of the big whales, like the Digital Currency Group, were able to absorb the losses and march ahead. However, the biggest group was retail investors who lost everything they had bet on the tokens, and most have never recovered. Some are now coming together to launch a manhunt for Do Kwon.
The investors have banded together under the UST Restitution Group (URG), a collective of over 4,400 investors who had their portfolios wiped out by the Terra ecosystem crash. The members exchange ideas and information on Discord, and some are even flying around the globe to personally hunt for the Korean fugitive.
One member, Kang Hyung-suk, plans to fly to Dubai in the coming week, he told the Financial Times. He believes Kwon is living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where friendly regulations have opened up a thriving digital asset ecosystem.
“I want to recruit other people to join the search. There’s a 50-50 chance of getting him in Dubai,” Kang said.
URG members have been exchanging ideas on how to catch Kwon on their Discord channel. The locations most recently suggested by members where the South Korean could be hiding include Dubai, Russia, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Azerbaijan.
One of the top URG members, who goes by the nickname Antithesis, tells FT that, together with other Terra investors, he’s been inching closer to Kwon.
“We have people who are very, very close to Do Kwon. The entire timetable for my life’s plans has been upended and set back many years. The stress on top of it has also probably shaved off several years from my lifespan,” he stated.
Antithesis says he lost several hundred thousand dollars he had invested in UST.
Even if URG was to track down Kwon successfully and have him extradited to South Korea, it’s still not clear if he would be prosecuted and convicted under the current laws. The Korean government is pursuing Kwon for violating the Capital Markets Act, but such a violation would depend on how the government categorizes digital assets.
“Charges against me are politically motivated,” Kwon says
As the URG, Korean authorities, and even Interpol hunt for him, Kwon appeared on the Unchained podcast to once again deny that he’s on the run.
Asked where he now resides, Kwon insisted that he can’t disclose his whereabouts “as there are several instances where personal security was threatened.”
“Every time the location where I live becomes known, it becomes almost impossible for me to live there,” he said.
In the interview, which journalist Laura Shin hosted, Kwon insisted that he’s not on the run. He claimed that he had paid off all his taxes, applied for visas when he needed to travel, and been in contact with the Korean authorities. He also denied reports that funds linked to him and the Luna Foundation Guard had been frozen on OKX and KuCoin by order of Korean authorities.
As he has done in the past, he dismissed all the charges against him, claiming, “We don’t believe those are legitimate charges. [They’re] politically motivated.”
Prior to the collapse of LUNA and UST, Kwon was renowned on social media platforms for his trash-talking. “Have fun staying poor” was one of his go-to responses to any of his critics.
He admitted during the interview that he went too far with the trash talk, saying he “got a little too carried away with the shitposting. I should have held myself to a more stringent standard.”
On whether he is sympathetic to the many who lost their life savings (and in some cases their lives) after the collapse, he stated, “I am sorry…statements about the stability of UST led traders to gain confidence in a system that ultimately failed. I do apologize and own up to the responsibility of that.”
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