The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has added three ethereum addresses to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list. OFAC claims that these ethereum addresses are controlled by Lazarus Group, a cybercrime group with ties to North Korea.
Lazarus Group Behind Axie Infinity Heist
The US Treasury Department’s OFAC Office added three ethereum addresses allegedly linked to the Lazarus Group cybercrime syndicate to the SDN list. The addition of the addresses comes weeks after U.S. authorities accused Lazarus Group and North Korean hackers of being behind the $620 million Axie Infinity heist.
As Bitcoin.com News previously reported, after reports of the hack surfaced, the U.S. government said the cybercriminal group was part of the group of hackers who led the Ronin Bridge attack that stole more than 173,000 ethereum tokens. In addition, before the agency’s last update, ethereum mixing project Tornado Cash said it was blocking OFAC-sanctioned addresses from using the mixer.
North Korea sanctions evasion
In a statement tweeted on April 22, the U.S. Treasury Department suggested that blocking access to funds at designated addresses would deprive sanctions-dodging North Korea of a vital source of revenue. The statement explained:
OFAC added 3 virtual currency wallet addresses to the SDN list for Lazarus Group. The DPRK [North Korea] relies on illegal activities, such as cybercrime, to generate revenue in an attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions &UN sanctions.
While U.S. authorities insist that the blocking will prevent North Korea from using stolen cryptocurrencies, an earlier Bitcoin.com News report suggests that cybercriminals could still transfer funds by simply transferring them to an unauthorized etherium address.
Meanwhile, in addition to directly blocking the three ethereum addresses, a statement from the U.S. Treasury Department warned against making transactions with those addresses. The statement said that those who do so could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
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