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North Korea Laundered $147.5M in Stolen Crypto Through Tornado Cash: UN

source-logo  cryptonews.com  + 1 more 15 May 2024 08:29, UTC

United Nations sanctions monitors noted that North Korea was involved in laundering $147.5 million in stolen cryptocurrency from an exchange. Per a Reuters report, the North Korean perpetrators reportedly laundered the stolen crypto through Tornado Cash crypto platform in March.

The international body’s sanction monitors submitted a confidential document to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on Friday. Per the document, seen by Reuters, monitors have been investigating 97 cyberattacks on crypto firms, carried out by North Korean suspects over the past 7 years, valued at some $3.6 billion.

Further, this year alone, North Korea is suspected to be behind 11 cryptocurrency thefts worth a total of $54.7 million. Those “may have been conducted by DPRK IT workers inadvertently hired by small crypto-related companies,” the document read.

One of the major attacks involved was $147.5 million worth crypto stolen from the HTX crypto exchange in 2023, which was laundered this march.

According to a report from the blockchain forensics firm Elliptic, North Korea’s Lazarus group was involved in stealing $112.5 million in cryptocurrency from crypto exchange HTX and its cross-chain bridge – HECO Bridge.

Since March 13, 2024, over $100 million from this hack has been laundered through Tornado Cash, Elliptic flagged.

Tornado Cash is a crypto mixer that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and indiscriminately facilitates anonymous transactions by obfuscating their origin, destination, and counterparties.

The Beleaguered Tornado Cash and Worldwide Responses

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tornado Cash on August 8, 2022. The authorities accused it for allowing hackers to launder USD 7 billion in cryptocurrency since 2019.

The crypto mixer faced global stir after its developer Alexey Pertsev was accused in a pattern of money laundering. He was later detained in the Netherlands in August 2022 when Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the U.S. government. On Tuesday, Pertsev was convicted of money laundering by a Dutch judge at the s-Hertogenbosch court.


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