OFAC claims that at least $2 million worth of cryptocurrencies was moved through wallets to fund North Korea’s weapon of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) says it has sanctioned several crypto wallets that have links to North Korea. According to a Tuesday statement, the wallets were being hosted on the crypto exchange Binance. Although the crypto exchange may not have directly controlled the wallets since any user could have signed up for them.
OFAC Identifies Addresses of Wallets
US officials have traced the blacklisted wallets to a North Korean citizen identified as Sang Man Kim. The 58-year-old man allegedly holds cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), and stablecoins such as Tether’s USDT and Circle’s USDC in those wallets.
OFAC claims that at least $2 million worth of cryptocurrencies were moved through wallets to North Korean entities and may have been used to fund weapon of mass destruction (WMD) programs.
In the press release, OFAC says the North Korean government has devised various means of generating revenue for the Kim-led administration and its numerous unlawful ambitions. To boycott sanctions, North Korea sometimes goes as far as deploying IT workers who would obtain ‘dubious’ employment to help it move funds (mostly in the form of virtual currency). The country then uses these funds to back its weapon of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, says the release.
For what it’s worth, Binance may have been implicated by this discovery had it not effected policy changes on its platform. That is after the exchange came under fire for allegedly encouraging bad actors, especially North Koreans to bypass sanctions. However, as told by Binance Financial Crime Compliance Head Tigran Gambaryan, the exchange has since taken actions to flush out such entities from its platform.
North Korean hackers remain the crypto industry’s most dreaded group of hackers. As recently reported by Coinspeaker, hackers linked to the North Korean government stole about $630 million worth of crypto in 2022 alone. Overall, they have coordinated a sizeable amount of attack and damage to the digital asset industry for many years.