The cryptocurrency seizure is the largest ever made by the Norwegian police. 

The entire amount was confiscated to the benefit of the company Ronin Network, which had reimbursed the losses players in the game Axie Infinity suffered as a result of the attack. Økokrim has now transferred the entire amount to Ronin Network.

“This case shows that we are able to seize large assets that are the proceeds of crime even if the criminals use advanced methods to conceal the cryptocurrency in the blockchain,” says Senior Public Prosecutor Marianne Bender.

North Korean hacker group

In March 2022, approx. NOK 5 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen from the game. According to the FBI, the North Korean hacker group Lazarus was behind the theft. Immediately after the attack, the group started a massive money laundering operation using very sophisticated methods, a process that is still ongoing. The launderers' aim is to convert the cryptocurrency into money that can be used in the real world. 

“This is money that can be used to finance the North Korean regime and their nuclear weapons programme. It has therefore been important to trace the cryptocurrency and try to stop the assets from being converted into regular currency,” says Bender.

Økokrim has worked with FBI’s experts in tracing cryptocurrency in this case.