The U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctioning authority has imposed restrictions on three individuals from North Korea for their involvement with the Lazarus Group, a notorious North Korean cyber-espionage team held responsible for numerous cryptocurrency thefts.
What Happened: U.S. officials claim that the proceeds from these thefts are utilized to finance the nation’s weapons program.
Two of the sanctioned individuals, Cheng Hung Man and Wu Huihui, have been identified as over-the-counter (OTC) traders who enabled cryptocurrency transactions on behalf of the Lazarus Group.
In addition, Sim Hyon Sop has been implicated in providing other forms of financial assistance. The Treasury’s investigation linked several Bitcoin BTC/USD addresses to Wu, while associating an Ethereum ETH/USD, Arbitrum ARB/USD, and Binance chain BNB/USD address with Sim.
Brian Nelson, the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury Department, commented on the matter, stating, “The DPRK persistently exploits virtual currency and extensive illicit facilitation networks to access the global financial system and generate revenue for the regime.”
He was referring to North Korea by its official name.
The Lazarus Group has faced allegations of orchestrating a massive campaign against the cryptocurrency sector, with the profits allegedly fueling North Korea’s weapons program.
The U.S. Treasury asserts that the group operates under the control of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s intelligence agency.
The Lazarus Group is believed to be responsible for the largest-ever cryptocurrency heist, in which they stole $625 million in digital assets from the Ronin network associated with the Axie Infinity game.