- OFAC has sanctioned Sinbad.io, declaring it a key money-laundering tool for North Korean hacking groups
- Sinbad.io, linked to state-sponsored cyber hacking group Lazarus Group, processed millions from Lazarus Group heists
- Sinbad launched just five months after Blender.io was sanctioned.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Sinbad.io after defining the protocol as a key money-laundering tool for North Korean hacking groups. OFAC yesterday sanctioned Sinbad, the successor to the already sanctioned Blender service, alleging that state-sponsored cyber hacking group Lazarus Group. The agency said that Sinbad.io processed millions of dollars from Lazarus Group heists and facilitated transactions linked to sanctions evasion, drug trafficking, child exploitation, and illicit sales on darknet marketplaces.
North Korea’s Favorite Mixer
Sinbad.io was launched in October last year, around six months after Blender.io was sanctioned over its North Korean links. By February, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis identified Sinbad as North Korean hackers’ favorite laundering service following the sanctioning of Blender and Tornado Cash.
Sinbad has played a role in laundering virtual currency stolen from Atomic Wallet, Axie Infinity, and Horizon Bridge heists, leading to OFAC sanctioning it pursuant to Executive Orders 13694 and 13722, blocking all property and interests in property within the US or controlled by US persons. Sinbad was also used by the FTX hacker to launder some of the $415 million stolen at the time of the exchange’s collapse.
Prison Time Awaits Users
The sanctions aim to prevent Sinbad.io from aiding the Lazarus Group and other illicit actors, reinforcing the U.S. government’s stance against virtual currency mixers facilitating money laundering and other criminal activities.
Anyone caught using the service will expose themselves to charges of sanctions violation, which include prison time and hefty penalties; last year, former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith was handed a five-year jail term for helping North Korea evade US sanctions.