Binance Assists in Seizing $4.4M Worth of Crypto

Binance collaborated with US law enforcement to seize $4.4M in cryptocurrencies linked to North Korean cybercrime networks.

Binance Assists in Seizing $4.4M Worth of Crypto
Binance Assists in Seizing $4.4M Worth of Crypto

Binance disclosed that it “assisted US law enforcement” in seizing $4.4 million of cryptocurrencies linked to North Korean cybercrime networks.

Binance stated in a May 25 Twitter thread that its Binance Investigations team collaborated with U.S. law enforcement to impede the “illicit revenue generation activities” of four now-sanctioned North Korean entities.

“We took proactive action against accounts associated with these individuals more than a year ago, following lawfully served warrants and in collaboration with law enforcement,” the company said.

A Binance representative said that the company “continuously monitors our platform for nefarious nation-state actors and collaborates with law enforcement” regarding whether the company plans additional collaborative initiatives.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control stated on May 23 that it sanctioned four entities and one individual for engaging in “malicious cyber activities that support the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Government.”

The Chinyong Information Technology Cooperation Company, the Pyongyang University of Automation, the 110th Research Center, and the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau were the four entities.

According to the Treasury, Chinyong is believed to maintain “thousands of highly skilled IT workers worldwide” who generate “revenue that contributes to its illegal WMD and ballistic missile programs.”

These individuals use fake or stolen identities to apply for overseas IT jobs, including tech and crypto-related positions, and then launder the payments back to the DPRK through cryptocurrency exchanges.

Kim Sang Man (Kim) is also included in the OFAC sanctions because he is “presumed to be involved in the payment of salaries to family members of Chinyong’s overseas DPRK worker delegations” and received $2 million in cryptocurrency for selling IT equipment to DPRK-affiliated teams in China and Russia.

According to the Treasury Department, the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau “leads the DPRK’s development of offensive cyber tactics and tools and operates several departments, including those affiliated with the Lazarus Group.”

In recent years, the Lazarus Group has raided several crypto and blockchain projects. It is believed to be responsible for the $620 million hack on the Ronin Bridge of Axie Infinity in March 2022.

The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, disclosed at the end of April that the company had recovered $5.8 million from the Lazarus Group after spotting some of the illicit gains moving across the exchange.