• Norway has seized close to $6 million in crypto funds from North Korea’s Lazarus digital currency hacking group.
• The money was stolen from the crypto gaming platform Axie Infinity in early 2022, with a total of $625 million being taken.
• Norway’s senior public prosecutor Marianne Bender thanked Binance for helping law enforcement agents and returning the funds to their rightful owner.
Norway Seizes Crypto Funds from North Korea
The European nation of Norway has recently seized nearly $6 million worth of crypto funds from Lazarus, a digital currency hacking group based in North Korea. This is reportedly the largest amount ever recovered by any region.
Background on Hack
The hack that initiated this seizure originated in early 2022 on the crypto gaming platform Axie Infinity, where more than $625 million was stolen from the company. North Korea has denied any involvement in this or any other cryptocurrency theft, but they have been accused many times of using these proceeds to fund their nuclear program.
Accolades for Norway
Norway is garnering praise right now for successfully recovering around $5.8 million out of the total amount stolen during this incident. Although it is only a fraction of what was lost, it is still an impressive accomplishment as it can be difficult to take back digital funds after they have been stolen by trained hackers endorsed by government officials like those found in North Korea. Marianne Bender, Norway’s senior public prosecutor commented on this achievement: „This is money that can be used to finance the North Korean regime and their nuclear weapons program.“
Thanks to Binance
Aleksander Larsen, founder of Sky Mavis (the company behind Axie Infinity) expressed his gratitude via tweet towards Norwegian police for doing their best to reclaim the funds and also thanked Binance – one of the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency exchanges – for assisting law enforcement officers during this process. A spokesperson for Binance spoke out about their role saying: “When we learn of bad actors on our platform, we intervene and take appropriate action including freezing funds and working with law enforcement to return funds to their rightful owner(s).”
North Korean Crypto Theft Activity
It has long been known that North Korea targets areas across Asia, Europe and even North America when attempting cryptocurrency thefts; however a recent report suggests that they may have obtained up to two billion dollars worth of cryptocurrencies with these activities since 2019 alone.