The US Sanctioned 3 North Koreans For Helping The Lazarus Group
- The penalties, issued jointly by the governments of South Korea and the United States, are aimed against Sim Hyon-sop, a North Korean who conducted illegal money laundering transactions.
- Cheng Hung Man and Wu Huihui, two of the sanctioned people, were OTC dealers facilitating crypto transactions for Lazarus.
Seoul and Washington sanctioned 3 North Korean persons linked to the regime’s illegal cyber operations and weapons development.
The United States Treasury Department’s sanctions monitor barred three North Koreans from aiding the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacker squad infamous for cyber thefts that U.S. officials allege were used to fund the country’s weapons development.
The sanctions, issued jointly by the governments of South Korea and the United States on Monday, target a person called Sim Hyon-sop, who is connected to the Korea Kwangson Banking Company, a North Korean bank sanctioned by the UN Security Council since 2016.
According to the government, Sim assisted in the laundering of millions of dollars acquired illegally by North Korean IT personnel operating incognito outside and in funding the regime’s weapons projects.
It was the sixth penalty imposed by the Yoon Suk Yeol administration on North Korean businesses or persons, and the first on a North Korean individual linked to illicit cyber operations that the South Korean government imposed concurrently with the US.
“Sim has been involved with illegally financing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs through activities such as money laundering,” said the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.
According to the agency, two of the sanctioned persons, Cheng Hung Man and Wu Huihui, were over-the-counter (OTC) dealers who facilitated crypto transactions for Lazarus, while a third, Sim Hyon Sop, offered additional financial assistance.
Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson stated:
“The DPRK continues to exploit virtual currency and extensive illicit facilitation networks to access the international financial system and generate revenue for the regime.”
The Lazarus Group has been accused of waging a multimillion-dollar campaign against the crypto world, with the earnings allegedly funding North Korea’s weapons development.
According to the Treasury, the hacking gang is directed by North Korea’s intelligence outfit, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, and it was responsible for the largest-ever crypto robbery, stealing $625 million in digital assets from the Ronin network linked to the Axie Infinity game.
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