South Korea makes first arrest in Terra case, JTBC reports

Quick Take

  • South Korean prosecutors have reportedly arrested a Terraform employee with the surname Yu.
  • The employee is said to be a close aide of Terraform founder Do Kwon and is accused of wash trading and inflating crypto prices.

The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors' Office has reportedly arrested Yu, head of general business operations at Terraform Labs, making its first arrest in an ongoing investigation.

The prosecutors' office has taken the action because it believes that Yu ran bots to wash trade crypto and manipulate prices, Korean media outlet JTBC reported the news exclusively on Thursday. The office has accused Yu of violating Korea's Capital Markets Act.

Yu is the person's second name; first name was not disclosed. In Korea, authorities don't often reveal the full names of detained people.

The prosecutors' office has reportedly also requested a bench warrant for Yu. Yu was said to be already on the list of the arrest warrants that were issued last month for Kwon and six of his colleagues.


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A bench warrant allows prosecutors to keep a person detained during a trial if they think the person might run away during the trial period.

Whether Yu continues to be detained or not will be determined by the court, and a decision could come as soon as today, per the JTBC report. If the court approves the prosecutors' bench warrant application, Yu will continue to be detained, and if not, he could be part of a non-custodial investigation, according to the Korean court system.

Yu was reportedly a key aide of Kwon, the creator of the Terra ecosystem, which imploded in May and wiped out around $40 billion in investor wealth. Earlier today, The Block reported that South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered Kwon to return his local passport in 14 days. If not returned, Kwon risks losing the passport, and re-applications may be rejected.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Yogita Khatri is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things crypto. As one of the earliest team members, Yogita has played a pivotal role in breaking numerous stories, exclusives and scoops. With nearly 3,000 articles under her belt, Yogita holds the records as The Block's most-published and most-read author of all time. Prior to joining The Block, Yogita worked at crypto publication CoinDesk and The Economic Times, where she wrote on personal finance. To contact her, email: [email protected]. For her latest work, follow her on X @Yogita_Khatri5.