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Money laundering for North Korea: crypto developers arrested in the Netherlands


The Tornado Cash platform is said to have laundered money from ransomware extortions. A 29-year-old suspect has now been arrested in the Netherlands.

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Dutch authorities announced on Friday the arrest of a 29-year-old suspected of having laundered cryptocurrency money as a developer of the Tornado Cash platform.

The United States had already imposed sanctions on the platform on Monday because it is said to have supported a North Korean hacker group.

The Dutch financial investigation authority FIOD had been investigating the offer since June 2022 because it suspected that illegal financial flows in the billions had been processed.

Criminal investigators did not provide any information about the identity of the developer arrested on Wednesday, but they promised further arrests.

US accuses North Korea

Tornado Cash's connections to the Lazarus hacker group, which is attributed to the North Korean state, were particularly decisive for the US sanctions.

"Despite public protestations to the contrary, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to implement effective controls to prevent it from regularly laundering funds for malicious cyber actors," US Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson explained the coercive measures against the platform.

International law enforcement agencies such as the FBI blame the Lazarus hacker group for numerous crypto heists.

It's not just about ransomware extortion.

The criminal hackers also have numerous business models in the crypto industry in their sights, for example they stole digital currency from the cash register of the game "Axie Infinity" worth around 600 million dollars at the time.

This is actually what players should be paid for.

Most cryptocurrencies are hardly suitable for criminal activities, since transactions can be traced using the blockchain, which acts as a global statement of all holders of such currency.

In order to still get hold of the stolen money, criminals use so-called mixing platforms, which mix payments from different sources and thus conceal the money flows.

In the meantime, the pressure on crypto platforms is growing worldwide to implement the anti-money laundering laws that also apply to other financial platforms.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-08-12

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