A lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice allegedly used accounts linked to Chinese cryptocurrency traders to launder about $ 3 million in stolen funds.
The U.S. Department of Justice has identified 280 cryptocurrency accounts that it believes were involved in money laundering as a result of two major hackers in 2019. It is stated that both attacks are based in North Korea.
In the case filed as a result of a complaint to the US District Court, the court requested access to 280 accounts from the Internal Revenue Service, FBI and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The first attack and theft, the subject of the lawsuit, occurred in July last year. The funds are reported to be stolen from relatively unknown cryptocurrency exchanges called Proton Tokens and PlayGame Token. It is stated that the hackers have seized about 272 thousand dollars. In later investigations, it was revealed that the funds were converted into other crypto currencies.
The second attack was much larger, and in September 2019, about $ 2.5 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from wallets owned by an American company. It was alleged that the attacker who carried out this theft later laundered funds using up to 100 accounts in an exchange.
Ministry: Chinese helped launder money
According to the complaint made to the court; Chinese OTC, over-the-counter traders, helped launder funds. The Justice Department argues that the hackers were the same hackers who committed a $ 250 million robbery in 2018 and cleared these funds for North Korea.
“Despite the sophisticated money laundering techniques used, IRS-CI’s Cyber Crimes Unit successfully followed up the stolen funds until they reached North Korean actors,” said Don Fort, head of IRS Criminal Investigation Unit. “The IRS-CI will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and conduct both its external and internal operations to combat threats to the US financial system and national security.”
At a UN Safe Council meeting in March 2019, it was reported that hackers stole $ 571 million from cryptocurrency exchanges, despite sanctions imposed by North Korea between January 2017 and September 2018 alone. The funds were allegedly used to avoid US sanctions. These figures do not include hacking attacks in 2019.