The FBI and the Dutch Financial Intelligence and Investigation Service have seized the websites of a crypto mixer named Sinbad, allegedly used by North Korean hackers and cybercriminals for laundering stolen funds. The action, part of an international law enforcement investigation, has drawn attention to the Sinbad platform and its purported involvement with the Lazarus Group, widely believed to work for the North Korean government.
In a move orchestrated by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Sinbad has faced sanctions for its alleged pivotal role in facilitating money laundering activities for the Lazarus Group. The OFAC stated that Sinbad processed millions in virtual currency from Lazarus Group heists, including proceeds from major 2022 hacks like those of Horizon Bridge and Axie Infinity, amounting to millions of dollars.
Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo of the Treasury Department emphasised the severity of consequences for services enabling criminal activities. While advocating for responsible innovation in the digital asset ecosystem, Adeyemo stressed the government’s readiness to employ all tools to prevent virtual currency mixers like Sinbad from aiding illicit activities.
Elliptic, a cryptocurrency monitoring firm, revealed that Sinbad was reportedly used by the Lazarus Group to launder stolen funds from multiple high-profile hacks, including Stake.com, CoinEx, FTX, BadgerDAO, and others, totalling millions of dollars in losses.
Following the seizure, Sinbad’s websites now display FBI seizure notices. Despite previous claims by its founder in Wired that it operated legitimately, the platform faces intensified scrutiny amid its alleged involvement in illicit activities.
Sinbad joins a growing list of crypto mixers sanctioned by the US government, including Tornado Cash and Blender.io. OFAC’s statement further highlighted Sinbad’s purported facilitation of illicit transactions.
The coordinated efforts by law enforcement agencies to crack down on platforms like Sinbad shed light on the ongoing battle against cybercrime and money laundering activities facilitated by crypto mixers, underscoring the need for stringent regulations and vigilance in the digital asset realm.