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Norwegian Watchdog Økokrim Confiscated $5.8 Million in Cash From Lazarus Group

According to the press release distributed by the authority, cash constitutes the greatest confiscation ever made by the police in Norway.

Photo by Setyaki Irham / Unsplash

The Norwegian Economic watchdog, Kokrim, has publicly announced that it has seized approximately $5.8 million in cash from the Lazarus Group. The sum in question is sixty million Norwegian Krone.

According to the press release (1) distributed by the authority, cash constitutes the greatest confiscation ever made by the police in Norway.

Additionally, the monies were the highest amount of money ever confiscated from criminals in Norway, marking an important historical milestone for the Økokrim. The regulatory agency stated that the seizure occurred directly from the investigation into the breach of Axie Infinity's Ronin Bridge in March of 2022.

Økokrim has confirmed that the inquiry was carried out in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States.

The act of seizing the funds has been hailed as an achievement by the Norway intelligence organization for tracking the proceeds of criminal activity.

"Kokrim are professionals when it comes to tracking down money. This case shows that we are also competent at following the money on the blockchain even though criminals employ advanced ways to escape detection," says Senior Public Prosecutor Marianne Bender.  

As a result of the hack that occurred at the time on the Ronin Bridge, more than 620 million dollars were stolen from the platform. The Lazarus Group was identified as the organization responsible for the attack, which at the time was considered the most significant in the ecosystem of digital currencies.

According to Økokrim, a comprehensive investigation was started to trace the transfer of the monies that the infamous hacker group stole. It has been established that a string of complicit money laundering operations was utilized to obscure the origin of the cash and its ultimate destination.

However, because of the greater tracking capabilities of Økokrim, the money was successfully seized before it could be changed into fiat currency that could be used in the real world.

Økokrim asserted that the Lazarus Group planned to utilize the money from the heist to fund the nuclear projects in North Korea, a plan that has since been thwarted.

Økokrim to Return Funds Sky Mavis

According to the statement made by Økokrim, the cryptocurrency payments would be returned to Sky Mavis, the parent company of Axie Infinity. This pledge includes a concerted effort to track down any remaining monies to thwart any future initiatives that may seek to give terrorists a foothold anywhere in the world.

The hacking of Axie Infinity sparked the curiosity of numerous regulators from various countries all around the world, particularly those from the United States.

Because of their involvement in the money laundering operations of the Lazarus Group, key cryptocurrency mixers such as and Tornado Cash were subjected to several sanctions as a direct result of the damage that the hackers caused.

Axie Infinity has made tremendous progress toward recouping the lost monies thanks to regulators' roles in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the contributions of exchanges and security platforms.

In light of these developments, Binance announced that it successfully recovered up to $5.8 million of the stolen cash that the hackers attempted to launder through Binance.