Chinese citizens accused of laundering cryptocurrencies for the Lazarus Group

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The United States Department of Justice accused two Chinese citizens who allegedly have laundered around $ 100 million in cryptocurrencies on behalf of the infamous North Korean hackers Lazarus Group.
Tian Yinyin and Li Jiadong are accused of washing stolen cryptocurrencies from the hacking of two unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges. The US Department of the Treasury UU. He said Monday that the couple received approximately $ 91 million from North Korea after the hacking of an exchange in April 2018, then $ 9.5 million more in hacking another exchange that they transferred to other addresses to hide the origin of the funds.

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After washing the cryptocurrency, it is said that the pair charged the equivalent of $ 34 million in Chinese renminbi through bank accounts along with the purchase of $ 1.4 million in Apple iTunes gift cards with stolen bitcoin.

"The piracy of virtual currency exchanges and related money laundering for the benefit of North Korean actors represents a serious threat to the security and integrity of the global financial system," federal prosecutor Timothy J. Shea said in a statement.

The accusation did not name the target cryptocurrency exchanges, but at least one is easy to match: the Cryptsy hack in July 2014 that saw the theft of $ 9.5 million in cryptocurrencies.

However, in particular, the Department of Justice states that the North Korean conspirators would have hacked an exchange and stolen almost $ 250 million in cryptocurrencies in 2018. That hacking cannot be compared to known hackers either, but could suggest that Yinyin and Jiadong had the task of washing only some of the stolen funds.

The indictment also included a confiscation order, although it is not clear whether the accused couple continues to keep assets in the US. UU. The indictment alleges that the defendants conducted business in the United States, naming "113 accounts and addresses in virtual currency that were used by the defendants and unidentified conspirators to launder funds."

The Lazarus Group was the last in the news in December when it allegedly targeted Linux systems along with Windows. The group is known for allegedly being behind the spread of WannaCry ransomware in 2017

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned two Chinese citizens accused of laundering cryptocurrencies that were stolen in a cryptocurrency exchange hack of 2018. At the same time, the Department of Justice announced a charge of money laundering against the same two individuals.

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Its activity is connected to the Lázaro Group, a piracy group allegedly connected with the North Korean government. The OFAC accuses Yinyin Tian and Juiadong Li of helping "a malicious activity enabled by cyber."

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