Norwegian authorities, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), have seized some $6 million stolen in last year’s Axie Infinity heist. Økokrim, Norway’s national investigation and prosecution agency for economic and environmental crimes, announced on Thursday that they had confiscated 60 million Swedish kronor (about $5.8 million) in cryptocurrencies linked to attacks against Axie Infinity and Sky, the company that developed Non-fungible. Mavis’ attack is about online video games based on tokens (NFT).
The Axie Infinity heist last March resulted in a reported loss of $620 million. Hackers compromised Ronin network validators, which allowed them to take control of Sky Mavis’ four Ronin validators and a third-party validator run by Axie DAO. The North Korean hacking group Lazarus is behind the heist, according to the FBI. The hackers began a large-scale, sophisticated money-laundering operation immediately after the attack.
Cooperation between Norwegian authorities and the FBI has allowed some of the stolen funds to be recovered. The seizure of $6 million worth of cryptocurrency is the largest ever made by Norwegian police.
“We are working with FBI experts to track cryptocurrencies. This collaboration between states means we as a society are stronger in the fight against digital, profit-motivated crime,” said Chief State Attorney Marianne Bender. Bender) said.
However, Økokrim did not provide details of the seizure. It is unclear whether the seized cryptocurrencies were part of the $20.5 million in illicit proceeds approved by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to be processed by cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io.
The U.S. Treasury Department explained that Blender was used in the money laundering process of the Axie Infinity heist in North Korea, processing more than $20.5 million in illicit proceeds. The sanctions on Blender.io are part of a broader strategy to disrupt North Korea’s illicit activities, including its cyberattacks.
The seizure of cryptocurrencies by Norwegian authorities is a reminder that digital assets are not immune to criminal activity, either. Authorities around the world are stepping up efforts to prevent and investigate cybercrime as the use of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets continues to grow.
The confiscation of cryptocurrencies is also a sign of increased cooperation among law enforcement agencies around the world in the fight against cybercrime. The cooperation between Norwegian authorities and the FBI is just one example of the international cooperation necessary to combat this type of crime.