Cryptocurrency exchange Binance Crypto exchange has announced its collaboration with United States law enforcement agencies, seizing $4.4 Million worth of cryptocurrency assets connected to cybercrime organizations operating in North Korea.
In a series of tweets on May 25, Binance Crypto exchange revealed that its investigations team actively worked with United States authorities to disrupt the illicit revenue-generating activities of four now-sanctioned entities based in North Korea.
The coordinated efforts were undertaken in compliance with lawfully served warrants and close participation with law enforcement, reports by Binance.
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had previously declared sanctions against four entities and one individual involved in malicious cyber activities supporting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Government.
The entities targeted by the sanctions were the Chinyong Information Technology Participation Company, Pyongyang University of Automation, the 110th Research Center, and the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau.
The Chinyong company is well-known to employ thousands of highly skilled IT workers worldwide, allegedly involved in generating revenue to facilitate unlawful weapons of mass devastation (WMD) and ballistic missile programs.
The workers are believed to utilize fake or stolen identities to secure overseas IT positions, including roles in the technology and digital currency sectors. The payments received for their work are following that laundered back to North Korea through cryptocurrency exchanges.
The OFAC sanctions likewise encompassed an individual named Kim Sang Man, who is suspected of being involved in salary payments to family members of Chinyong’s overseas worker delegations. Kim likewise allegedly received $2 Million worth of digital currency by selling IT equipment to DPRK-affiliated teams in China and Russia.
The Technical Reconnaissance Bureau, another sanctioned entity, is recognized as a key driver of the DPRK’s offensive cyber strategies and tools. It oversees numerous departments, including those associated with the Lazarus Group.
The notorious Lazarus Group has been implicated in numerous cyberattacks on digital currency and blockchain tech projects in recent years. It was in charge of the $620 Million hack on the Ronin Bridge of Axie Infinity in March 2022.
Binance’s engagement in combating cybercrime extends beyond this recent operation. In late April, Binance Crypto exchange CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed that the exchange had successfully recovered $5.8 Million from the Lazarus Group after identifying suspicious transactions involving ill-gotten funds.