North Korea Laundered $147.5 Million in Crypto Stolen from HTX

The United Nations (UN) recently uncovered a breach of international finance laws regarding North Korea. 

North Korea allegedly washed $147.5 million in stolen cryptocurrency through Tornado Cash in March.

North Korea Laundered $147.5 Million

North Korea’s Crypto Laundering Exposed

The UN has investigated 97 cyberattacks on cryptocurrency firms. These attacks, carried out by North Korea over the past seven years, total approximately $3.6 billion in value.

One of the major incidents included the theft of $147.5 million worth of cryptocurrency from the HTX crypto exchange in 2023.

Elliptic revealed that North Korea’s Lazarus group stole $112.5 million in cryptocurrency from the platform and its cross-chain bridge, HECO. Since March 13, 2024, perpetrators have laundered over $100 million from the hack through Tornado Cash to conceal the transaction path.

North Korea’s ongoing use of cryptocurrency mixers highlights a major flaw in international sanctions enforcement. The nation takes advantage of the anonymity provided by these platforms to fund its banned nuclear and missile programs.

On August 8, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Tornado Cash. They have accused the platform of helping hackers launder $7 billion in cryptocurrency since 2019.

The penalization of Tornado Cash sparked worldwide controversy when its developer, Alexey Pertsev, was implicated in a money laundering scheme. Dutch authorities arrested Pertsev in the Netherlands in August 2022, around the same time the US government blacklisted Tornado Cash.

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