A South Korean general in charge of a bitcoin exchange was apprehended on suspicion of attempting to provide military secrets to North Korea.
According to Agence France-Presse, he and his accomplice, an unidentified military captain, received bitcoin payments from a North Korean agent.
According to South Korean police, this is the first time a “civilian and an active military captain are surprised when they attempt to obtain military secrets, ostensibly from a North Korean agent.”
“Two men have been detained on suspicion of violating national security law,” a representative of the Korean National Police Agency told AFP.
The 38-year-old CEO runs a cryptocurrency management company, and police identified him mononymously as “Lee.” According to South Korean police, both the director general and the commander of the army, aged 29 years old, received Bitcoin payments from a North Korean agent; the commander of the army received 48 million won, and the director general of the cryptocurrency company received 600,000 dollars.
According to the South Korean government’s investigation, in July 2021, Lee was asked to “retain an active-duty official to investigate military secrets.“
He gave the army commander a watch with a hidden camera and a hacking device. The army commander then granted the North Korean agent access to the data.
In February, a report by the United Nations affirmed that the cybercriminals of North Korea stole more than $50 million from three cryptocurrency exchanges between 2020 and 2021.
According to the United Nations Security Council, the North Korean government has been using cryptocurrencies to fund massive destruction weapons and ballistic missiles.