• UN sanctions committee showed North Korean hackers laundered $147.5 million in March through Tornado Cash, Reuters reported.
  • The funds were stolen from an attack on the HTX cryptocurrency exchange last year.
  • Tornado Cash co-founder was sentenced to about five years in prison after being convicted of money laundering in the Netherlands.

In a report on Tuesday, Reuters said it saw a document by United Nations monitors that revealed North Korea laundered $147.5 million through crypto mixing protocol Tornado Cash in March. The said funds were stolen from an HTX crypto exchange attack last year.

Read more: Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm’s motion to dismiss accusations rebuffed by US DOJ

Tornado Cash used for North Korean money laundering

According to Reuters, the United Nations sanctions monitors revealed that a North Korean group used Tornado Cash to move funds they stole from the $147.5 million HTX hack late last year.

The attack stated here is likely the November HTX and Heco cross-chain bridge attack. This is only one of several suspected attacks by North Korean groups on crypto companies. The UN monitors had been investigating 97 suspected North Korean cyberattacks on crypto platforms between 2017 and 2024, worth about $3.6 billion, according to Reuters.

Also read: US Senators raise grave concerns over DOJ's policies towards cryptocurrency asset providers

Tornado Cash is a crypto mixer that anonymizes transactions through a pool that obscures the origin and destination of funds moved within the Ethereum blockchain. Last year, the US charged the founders of Tornado Cash with helping facilitate money laundering worth over $1 billion for criminals, including the North Korean hackers group Lazarus. This comes after earlier sanctioning of the protocol in 2022.

On Tuesday, a Dutch court sentenced one of the founders of Tornado Cash, Alexey Pertsev, to 64 months in prison on a money laundering conviction. Pertsev was earlier arrested in August 2022 and has spent the past few years in jail before his sentencing. The other two co-founders of Tornado Cash, Roman Storm, and Roman Semenov, also face charges of money laundering and sanctions violations in the US.

Several crypto community members criticized the sentencing, calling it "an attack on privacy" and "misapplication of the law."

Read more: US Department of Justice charges brothers for alleged 12-second MEV fraud

This follows an increased crackdown on crypto mixing protocols by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which also charged the founders of the privacy-based Samourai Wallet in April.


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