US Treasury Redesignates Sanctions on Tornado Cash Crypto Mixer, Citing North Korea Participation

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The United States Treasury Department has redesignated sanctions around the mixing service Tornado Cash, saying North Korea’s Lazarus Group has utilized the plan to launder greater than $100m stolen in crypto heists.

The brand new sanctions were printed through the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and ties Tornado Cash to washing of $96m stolen within the Harmony Bridge Heist in June 2022, and a minimum of $7.8m stolen within the so-known as Nomad Heist in August 2022.

“This action belongs to the U . s . States’ ongoing efforts to limit the DPRK’s capability to advance its illegal weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs […] that are in obvious breach of multiple Un (United nations) Security Council resolutions,” an announcement in the Treasury issued on Tuesday stated.

OFAC first sanctioned Tornado Money in August this season, if this stated the blending service “has frequently unsuccessful to impose effective controls made to prevent washing funds for malicious cyber actors.”

The Treasury put in its announcement at that time that it’ll “continue to strongly pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for crooks and individuals who help them.”

The most recent redesignation contributes to that by linking Tornado Cash straight to North Korean government activities, including the introduction of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Amongst other things, the Treasury Department now claims the blending service helps North Korea launder money meant for its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program.

Additionally to Tornado Cash, the most recent sanctions from OFAC also targeted North Korean condition-owned airliner Air Koryo, in addition to two individuals stated to become involved in illegal transfers of missile equipment from China to North Korea.

“Today’s sanctions action targets two key nodes of [North Korea’s] weapons programs: its growing reliance upon illicit activities, including cybercrime, to create revenue, and how it can procure and transport goods meant for weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” Under Secretary from the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, John E. Nelson, stated inside a comment.

Following a original sanctioning of Tornado Cash, a lot of prominent figures within the crypto community had coins delivered to them with the mixer involuntarily, potentially putting them in breach from the sanctions.

Furthermore, many within the crypto community, including Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, have accepted to presenting Tornado Cash for completely legitimate purposes:

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