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UN Report Links North Korea to $147.5M Laundering from HTX Using Tornado Cash

Key Takeaways

  • A UN report revealed that North Korean entities linked to the Lazarus Group laundered $147.5 million stolen from HTX via Tornado Cash;
  • The report highlighted 97 North Korean cyberattacks from 2017 to 2024;
  • Tornado Cash, used for laundering, faces scrutiny and legal issues, including the conviction of developer Alexey Pertsev for money laundering.
UN Report Links North Korea to $147.5M Laundering from HTX Using Tornado Cash

A confidential UN report disclosed that North Korean entities linked to the Lazarus Group used Tornado Cash to launder $147.5 million stolen from the HTX crypto exchange.

The infamous cybercrime collective allegedly orchestrated the theft in March 2023.

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After lying dormant for a year, the stolen funds were funneled back to North Korea through crypto mixer Tornado Cash, which obscures the origins of transactions. Privacy protocols like Tornado Cash are frequently used by malicious actors to anonymize and make stolen assets untraceable.

The UN document also revealed an ongoing investigation into 97 cyberattacks attributed to North Korea, which siphoned an estimated $3.6 billion in crypto from 2017 to 2024.

During this period, in 2022, the US sanctioned Tornado Cash for allegedly aiding North Korea in evading international sanctions. Despite the founders' denials, the platform's role in laundering operations has faced intense regulatory scrutiny.

Legal issues escalated with the recent conviction of Alexey Pertsev, a developer behind Tornado Cash, who was sentenced to over five years in prison for participating in money laundering through the platform.

Overall, the laundering of nearly $150 million by North Korean operatives through Tornado Cash underscores the persistent and sophisticated nature of state-sponsored cybercrime.

Aaron S., Editor-In-Chief
Having completed a Master’s degree in Economics, Politics, and Cultures of the East Asia region, Aaron has written scientific papers analyzing the differences between Western and Collective forms of capitalism in the post-World War II era.
With close to a decade of experience in the FinTech industry, Aaron understands all of the biggest issues and struggles that crypto enthusiasts face. He’s a passionate analyst who is concerned with data-driven and fact-based content, as well as that which speaks to both Web3 natives and industry newcomers.
Aaron is the go-to person for everything and anything related to digital currencies. With a huge passion for blockchain & Web3 education, Aaron strives to transform the space as we know it, and make it more approachable to complete beginners.
Aaron has been quoted by multiple established outlets, and is a published author himself. Even during his free time, he enjoys researching the market trends, and looking for the next supernova.

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