U.S. Treasury Sanctions North Korean-Owned Binance Wallets; Says Entities Used Funds to Support WMD Programs

U.S. officials on Tuesday sanctioned a swath of crypto-holding wallets with alleged ties to the North Korean government, according to a statement from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The blacklisted wallets – which contained bitcoin, ether, Tether’s USDT and Circle’s USDC – belonged to an individual named Sang Man Kim, a 58-year-old North Korean citizen, OFAC alleged. The wallets were hosted by crypto exchange Binance.

That’s not to say Binance actively controlled the wallets – they appear to be automatically-generated wallet addresses hosted by the exchange that any user can sign up for. There have been no transactions to or from these addresses over the past year, according to blockchain veri.

“The DPRK conducts malicious cyber activities and deploys information technology (IT) workers who fraudulently obtain employment to generate revenue, including in virtual currency, to support the Kim regime and its priorities, such as its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” the OFAC press release said.

Binance had previously come under fire for allegedly facilitating bad actors’ efforts to circumvent sanctions. The exchange has since implemented stringent policies to purge North Korean actors from its platform, Binance Financial Crime Compliance Head Tigran Gambaryan told CoinDesk in April.

North Korean-linked hackers have executed a number of sizable exploits in the digital assets industry. In 2022, hackers with ties to that country’s regime plundered roughly $630 million worth of crypto, Reuters reported.

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Binance did not immediately reply to CoinDesk’s request for comment.

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