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Crypto Scandal Unleashes Political Chaos in Montenegro’s General Election

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Montenegro voting
Montenegro voting

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In a stunning turn of events, the crypto industry has managed to infiltrate not only financial markets but also political landscapes.

The Balkan nation of Montenegro, already grappling with issues of organized crime and Russian influence, has now been thrust into political turmoil just days before its critical general election on June 11.

Political Chaos Unleashed in Montenegro as Crypto Scandal Rocks General Election

The catalyst for this upheaval is none other than Do Kwon, the fugitive former head of a failed crypto venture that contributed to the massive $2 trillion crash in the industry last year.

Kwon, currently incarcerated in a Montenegrin jail since March, recently sent a handwritten letter to the authorities, revealing a shocking connection between the leader of the Europe Now Movement, the frontrunner in the election, and the crypto industry.

Do Kwon LUNA

According to Kwon’s letter, he claimed to have had a “very successful investment relationship” with the Europe Now leader, with the crypto industry providing campaign funding in exchange for promises of “crypto-friendly policies.”

The Europe Now Movement had been expected to secure a resounding victory in the elections, pledging to tackle corruption and crime that flourished under Montenegro’s former leader, Milo Djukanovic, and steer the country towards EU membership.

Despite winning the most votes, Europe Now fell far short of expectations, finishing only slightly ahead of a rival pro-Russian group. The voter turnout, at just 56%, was a record low.

The impact of Kwon’s intervention on Europe Now’s chances cannot be underestimated, as the party’s leader, Milojko Spajic, lamented the destruction caused by the disgraced crypto entrepreneur’s letter.

Spajic vehemently denied the accusations, dismissing them as “super fake” and part of a “dirty political game” to harm his party. While Kwon’s lawyers have not disputed the authenticity of the letter, the former crypto trailblazer’s fall from grace has been nothing short of spectacular.

Once hailed as an innovator and responsible for the design of the popular digital coin Luna, Kwon’s crypto empire collapsed in May 2022, leading to his fugitive status and subsequent arrest in Montenegro.

Kwon’s Whereabouts and Activities Remain Murky

Do Kwon

The circumstances surrounding Kwon’s presence in Montenegro remain shrouded in mystery. He had attempted to flee to Dubai using a forged passport, leading to his arrest.

Although stripped of his electronic devices, Kwon managed to move a staggering $29 million from a crypto wallet linked to him, according to South Korean prosecutors.

The authorities, particularly the acting prime minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazovic, are keen to investigate whether Kwon had local collaborators and if the crypto community in the country was involved in money laundering and campaign financing.

Montenegro, long plagued by cigarette smuggling and drug trafficking during Djukanovic’s rule, had sought to position itself as a hub for the crypto industry, with high hopes of it accounting for a significant portion of the country’s economic output.

The allure of Montenegro’s welcoming approach attracted not only crypto enthusiasts but also individuals of questionable backgrounds. George Cottrell, a British financier convicted of wire fraud in the United States, changed his name to George Co and relocated to Montenegro.

Although he denied any involvement in the crypto industry, officials are investigating possible illegal activities linked to Cottrell, who recently left Montenegro for London.

The American and South Korean prosecutors are also keen to examine the electronic devices seized from Kwon during his arrest. These devices may hold crucial clues regarding the whereabouts of billions of dollars invested in his now-worthless digital coins.

Where did Funds Go?

Of particular interest to Montenegrin authorities is any information related to campaign financing and Kwon’s relationship with Spajic.

During a court hearing, Kwon’s lawyers denied their client’s involvement in funding Spajic’s campaign, despite Kwon’s letter asserting the presence of “other friends in the crypto industry” who made contributions.

Milojko Spagic

Spajic initially denied any connection to Kwon but later admitted to knowing him since 2018 and investing money with him. Spajic claimed to have met Kwon again in late 2022 to recover their investments, while Kwon stated that the meeting was to discuss campaign financing, which Spajic vehemently denies.

The unexpected impact of Kwon’s revelations has brought the pro-Russian bloc, led by Milan Knezevic, into the limelight.

While Knezevic relishes the group’s strong electoral performance, he expressed regret over Montenegro’s embrace of the crypto industry, believing it would have been better to welcome fighters from the Islamic State.

According to Knezevic, the activities of crypto enthusiasts remain a mystery, making them an unknown and potentially dangerous entity.

As Montenegro grapples with the aftermath of the crypto scandal that rocked its general election, the country finds itself at a crossroads. It must confront the influence of the crypto industry, scrutinize campaign financing, and chart a course that ensures political stability, free from the interference of organized crime and external forces.

The revelations have exposed the vulnerabilities of the political system and underscored the need for stringent regulations and transparency in the crypto sphere. Montenegro’s future hangs in the balance as it navigates this uncharted territory.

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