The United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control delivered sanctions to two Chinese nationals who are accused of laundering cryptocurrency. The currency was stolen in a 2018 cryptocurrency exchange hack. The Department of Justice also announced an indictment of money laundering against the same two people.
These activities are associated with the Lazarus Group. It is a hacking group connected to the North Korean government. The two individuals, Yinyin Tian and Juiadong Li, are accused of helping a malicious cyber-enabled activity. The two allegedly stole $250 million and laundered $100 million of it.
The Department of Justice states that the purpose of the two accused individuals' activities was to obscure the transactions for the benefits of the North Korean group. The Department of Justice's indictment is meant to show that the United States does not condone such actions. In the indictment, the North Korean co-conspirators are alleged to have stolen $250 million of digital coins from an exchange. This was called the Coincheck hack. The same two individuals are allegedly responsible for the hacking of another exchange in South Korea in November 2019. In that event, $48.6 million of cryptocurrency was stolen. This could be the UpBit hacking in which almost that amount of Ether was stolen.
A press release from the Department of Justice explained that the civil forfeiture complaint has 113 virtual currency accounts and addresses used by the accused individuals. The Department of Justice wants to recover those funds. Those accounts and addresses were used in the laundering of the cryptocurrency. Some of it has already been seized by the United States.
The United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control only has 20 addresses in its criminal complaint. Of those, 12 were identified with Li, and eight were linked to Tian. None of the addresses are associated with Bitcoin, and only five wallets are linked to the addresses. One of those is on the Huobi exchange. It is unclear why Department of Justice complaint has 113 addresses and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control only has 20.