A South Korean CEO of a crypto exchange was arrested under suspicion of attempting to provide North Korea with military secrets. He and his accomplice, an unidentified military captain, received payments by the North Korean agent in cryptocurrency, according to the Agence France-Presse.
According to the South Korean police, this marked the first time a "civilian and an active-duty military captain were caught trying to obtain military secrets, at the behest of a North Korean agent."
"The two men have been arrested on charges of violating the national security law," a representative from the Korean National Police Agency told AFP.
The 38-year-old CEO ran a crypto management firm and was mononymously identified as "Lee" by the police. According to the South Korean police, both the CEO and the 29-year-old army captain received crypto payments from the North Korean agent, with the army captain being the recipient of 48 million won and the crypto firm CEO receiving approximately $600,000.
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In July 2021, Lee was allegedly asked to "recruit an active-duty officer in order to investigate military secrets." He gave the army captain a watch with a hidden camera, and created a hacking device for use by the army captain. The army captain then provided the login details to the North Korean agent.
In February, a United Nations report said that North Korean cybercrime groups stole over $50 million from three crypto exchanges in 2020 to 2021.
According to the U.N. Security Council, the North Korean government has been using stolen cryptocurrency to finance weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.