Two Chinese citizens allegedly laundered more than $100 million coming from crypto hackers working on behalf of North Korea.
According to Reuters, the US Department of Justice has allegedly made these allegations in court documents concerning the use of hackers by the Asian country precisely to circumvent international sanctions.
The two suspected criminals have allegedly helped North Korean hackers to launder cryptocurrencies derived from thefts between December 2017 and April 2019, specifically helping hide the money from law enforcement agencies.
Those funds were allegedly laundered using hundreds of automated transactions designed precisely to prevent investigators from tracing the source, they were then used to help pay for North Korea’s infrastructure, which is used precisely to launch cyber attacks.
Department of Justice lawyers also claimed to have seized some funds from a theft of about $250 million that North Korean hackers also stole from a crypto exchange in 2018.
In addition, they also allegedly discovered the involvement of the same hackers in an attack on a South Korean crypto exchange in November 2019 that involved more than $48 million in cryptocurrency.
Columbia District Attorney Timothy Shea said:
“The hacking of virtual currency exchanges and related money laundering for the benefit of North Korean actors poses a grave threat to the security and integrity of the global financial system”.
Reuters also notes that, according to a UN report last year, North Korea, through cyber-attacks aimed at stealing funds from banks and crypto exchanges, accumulated about $2 billion, which was then used for its weapons of mass destruction programs.
UN experts have said that the attacks on crypto exchanges have generated revenue in ways that are more difficult to trace, and subject to less government supervision and regulation.
However, North Korea has always denied these allegations.