The Lazarus Group’s Third Crypto Mixer Sanctioned by the US Treasury
It seems that the Lazarus Group used a third crypto mixer that the United States listed on the SDN list for the purpose of money laundering.
The law enforcement organization claims that Sinbad has been used to conceal cryptocurrency assets stolen in high-profile thefts, totaling millions of dollars.
According to a press statement issued by OFAC on November 29, 2023, the crypto mixing service reportedly helped handle the illegal funds from many cryptocurrency heists committed by the North Korean hacker outfit Lazarus, which was sanctioned in September 2019, and Sinbad was a “preferred” mixer for the gang.
Government officials claim that Sinbad cleaned up a lot of money from the hacking of Atomic Wallet, Axie Infinity, and Harmony’s Horizon Bridge.
The website of the mixer, Sinbad, was confiscated by the police after he was included on OFAC’s most recent list of specially designated nationals (SDNs). The following warning is shown to visitors to the site:
“Officials from the FBI, FIOD, and the National Bureau of Investigations have joined forces to confiscate the Sinbad.io cryptocurrency mixing service’s website.”
Meanwhile, this is the third crypto mixer that OFAC has sanctioned as a result of the most recent development. Blender and Tornado Cash were both targeted by the agency in the past; Roman Semenov, a co-founder of Tornado Cash, was placed on the SDN list.
Roman Storm, another co-founder of Tornado Cash, pleaded not guilty to charges including money laundering and sanctions violations after his arrest and subsequent release on bail in September. Semenov is reportedly at large.
The government’s decision to penalize Tornado Cash infuriated crypto enthusiasts because they felt it exceeded its authority. The Ethereum-based cryptocurrency mixer was unsuccessful in its attempt to get the charges dismissed by the government.
In contrast, Blender supposedly became Sinbad. In response to the most recent penalty, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo stated:
“There will be severe repercussions for mixing services that help criminals like the Lazarus Group launder their stolen money. To stop Sinbad and other virtual currency mixers from helping criminals, the U.S. authorities and the Treasury Department are prepared to use all the resources at their disposal. The digital asset ecosystem needs responsible innovators, but we will not hesitate to punish bad actors when necessary.”