Democratic lawmakers urge White House to release North Korea cryptocurrency seizures information.
A group of U.S. Democratic senators have launched an investigation into the government’s response to the “North Korean cryptocurrency hijack,” according to media reports.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported yesterday (April 4) that Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, and Chris Van Hollen sent a letter to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson requesting relevant information.
The letter asks for information on the US administration’s specific actions against North Korea’s seizure of cryptocurrencies to fund its nuclear program, as well as the latest estimates of North Korea’s revenue from the illicit acquisition of cryptocurrencies.
Information on actors who have helped North Korea exchange cryptocurrencies for other forms of assets, such as materials for nuclear weapons and ballistic missile production, was also included in the request.
“North Korea has systematically developed expertise in digital assets over the past several years,” Warren and others wrote in the letter, “and the Treasury Department must act swiftly and decisively to crack down on illicit cryptocurrency activity to protect national security.”
U.S. officials have noted that there are so many unknowns about North Korea’s funding sources that it is virtually impossible to pinpoint the role of cryptocurrency theft.
In June, the WSJ reported that North Korea has stolen $3 billion, or about $3.9 trillion in South Korean won, in cryptocurrency through its hacking armies in the last five years, 먹튀검증 starting in 2018, and that it funds 50 percent of the country’s ballistic missile program.