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According to a United Nations report, North Korea used the virtual currency platform Tornado Cash to launder $147.5 million in March. 

This incident occurred after the funds were stolen last year from a cryptocurrency exchange, according to confidential documents reviewed by UN sanctions monitors and obtained by various news outlets. The alleged laundering occurred in March following a cyberattack on the HTX cryptocurrency exchange late the previous year, where the sum mentioned was illegally obtained.


The UN documents further detail that North Korean cyber operatives have been involved in a series of cyberattacks on cryptocurrency firms from 2017 through 2024, with the total potential theft amounting to approximately $3.6 billion. Specifically, in 2024, there were 11 incidents of cryptocurrency thefts totaling $54.7 million, many of which might have been carried out by North Korean IT workers employed unknowingly by smaller crypto-related businesses. These activities reportedly provide substantial financial resources for North Korea, which faces stringent UN sanctions aimed at curtailing its nuclear and missile programs since 2006.

An effort to monitor UN sanctions has also faced significant challenges after Russia vetoed a mandate that would have renewed sanctions monitoring and enforcement by the UN.  

This development comes after the United States imposed sanctions on Tornado Cash in 2022, alleging that it facilitated over $1 billion in money laundering activities, including those linked to North Korean cybercrime groups. The founders of Tornado Cash have pleaded not guilty to various US charges. 


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