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May 16, 2024

UN Experts Say North Korea Laundered $147,500,000 in Stolen Crypto via Tornado Cash in March: Report

By Rhodilee Jean Dolor

Members of a United Nations expert panel monitoring North Korea sanctions reportedly found a link between the totalitarian state and the crypto mixer Tornado Cash.

According to Reuters, a confidential document from the monitors told the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee that North Korea used Tornado Cash to launder $147.5 million worth of stolen crypto assets earlier this year.


The eight-member panel of experts was disbanded in April after Russia vetoed the renewal of its mandate. In the unfinished work they submitted on Friday, the monitors say they were investigating 97 suspected North Korean cyberattacks on cryptocurrency companies involving around $3.6 billion worth of assets.

The attacks, which happened between 2017 and 2024, include the $147.5 million theft that targeted Seychelles-based crypto exchange HTX last year. The monitors say data from crypto analytics firm PeckShield and blockchain research firm Elliptic show that the stolen funds were laundered through Tornado Cash in March.

This year alone, the monitors looked at 11 cryptocurrency thefts valued at $54.7 million. Their report says a substantial number of these attacks were conducted by North Korean IT workers that small crypto-related companies inadvertently hired.

In 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tornado Cash saying the platform laundered more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency, including over $455 million stolen by the North Korean hacker collective Lazarus Group.


North Korea is said to be relying on cyber attacks to finance its nuclear and missile programs.

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