Wednesday, April 21, 2021

North Korea laundered money through Hong Kong Blockchain Platform – Report

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The UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee on North Korea has identified a Hong Kong business using a “blockchain platform” to launder money on behalf of the Pyongyang regime, Chosunilbo reports.

The business, Marine China, reportedly, “set up a shipping and logistics firm run on a blockchain platform in Hong Kong in April to evade international sanctions.”

Marine China is registered to a sole owner-investor named Julian Kim who also uses the alias, “Tony Walker.”

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Kim, “apparently appointed another person as head of the firm and attempted to withdraw money several times from banks in Singapore.”

Marine China was allegedly one of several entities that laundered cryptocurrencies stolen by North Korean hackers in recent years.

The UN estimates that a minimum of 5000 crypto-laundering transactions for North Korea have taken place through a number of countries.

According to the UN Security Council’s November 2019 Monthly Forecast on the DPRK (North Korea), DPRK hackers have stolen more than $2 billion USD in cryptocurrencies, and says this money, “represents a significant portion of the DPRK’s revenue stream”:

[su_quote]The Swedish FSA can issue a fine if it finds that Swedbank has breached the law regarding money-laundering prevention. The size of the fine can amount to 10% of the bank’s total income in the previous year, or to two times the profit that the bank has made by breaching the rules, or to an amount equivalent to 5 million euros ($5.54 million). Swedbank reported total income of 44.2 billion kronor ($4.55 billion) last year, meaning that the fine based on 2018 numbers could be as high as 4.42 billion kronor.[/su_quote]

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North Korean hackers are reportedly “groomed” from childhood.

Many North Korean cyberattacks have included a “spear-phishing” email component, the report adds.

In “spear-phishing attacks,” unsuspecting employees working at targeted facilities are solicited to open emails containing malware-infected links.

“The North used that method to hack into the computer network of a bank in Bangladesh in 2016. Altogether 17 countries have become targets of North Korean spear-phishing over the last three years,” Chosun Ilbo writes.

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