North Korea Accused of Laundering $147.5M in Crypto via Tornado Cash

Lazarus Group

A report from United Nations sanctions monitors reveals that North Korea allegedly laundered $147.5 million stolen from a cryptocurrency exchange through the Tornado Cash platform in March.

This laundering activity is just another case of the international community being worried about the use of cryptocurrencies to evade the global sanctions.

North Korea’s Involvement with Tornado Cash

United Nations sanctions monitors have detailed North Korea’s latest cyber-financial activity, involving the laundering of $147.5 million through the crypto mixer Tornado Cash.The money, which is believed to have been stolen from the HTX cryptocurrency exchange at the end of last year, was channeled through Tornado Cash in March as per the document the monitors submitted to the U. N. Security Council sanctions committee.

The research results, which are based on the data from the crypto analytics company PeckShield and the blockchain research company Elliptic, stress the North Korea’s advanced methods of evading the international sanctions.

The monitors have been looking into a total of 97 believed North Korean cyberattacks on cryptocurrency companies from 2017 to 2024, which is worth about $3.6 billion. In the year 2024, for instance, North Korea is suspected of being behind 11 cryptocurrency thefts worth a total of $54.7 million.

A great number of these cases are said to be the work of the DPRK IT workers who were mistakenly employed by small crypto-related companies and thus, they got the indirect access to North Korea to exploit these platforms.

Global Responses and Arrest

After these findings, the international community has increased its attention and restriction actions against Tornado Cash, which is frequently used by hackers to hide the origin of dirty money.

In 2022, the U. S. government imposed sanctions on Tornado Cash, claiming that it was a money-laundering tool that was used by the North Korean cybercriminals. This decision was a part of the wider programme to control digital platforms that are used for financial fraud.

The situation became more clear when the developer of Tornado Cash, Alexey Pertsev, was sentenced to 64 months in prison by a Dutch court for the laundering of over $1.2 billion. This case has shown the constant problems and legal difficulties of the cryptocurrency activities that are worldwide, especially those that can be related to the international security threats.

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