The United States has sanctioned three people, including two over-the-counter (OTC) crypto traders, for aiding the North Korean hacking group Lazarus.
OTC trader Wu Huihui allegedly helped Lazarus Group convert stolen crypto into fiat. Also sanctioned was Cheng Hung Man, another trader based out of Hong Kong who allegedly used a network of shell companies to help remit the fiat currencies.
The third individual, Sim Hyon Sop, works for Korea Kwangson Banking Corp, a sanctioned entity. He reportedly contributed to the network of shell companies and bank accounts inside China that the North Korean state depends on.
Lazarus is allegedly responsible for a variety of crypto hacks, including the attack on Ronin Bridge, used by Axie Infinity. Funds stolen in Lazarus attacks are reportedly used to help fund North Korea’s ambition of obtaining a nuclear warhead and intercontinental missile capable of delivering it.
North Korea’s ability to target ‘DeFi’ services and use them as part of its laundering activities was also highlighted in the US Treasury’s recent ‘Illicit Finance Risk Assessment of Decentralized Finance.’ The report recommended more thorough anti-money laundering compliance enforced at companies interfacing with the cryptocurrency ecosystem.