North Korea’s notorious hacking group known as Lazarus Group, has been detected moving US$12 million worth of stolen cryptocurrency through Tornado Cash, a decentralized crypto mixer, despite U.S. sanctions against the platform.

According to blockchain forensics firm Elliptic, the illicit funds linked to a November hack of the crypto exchange HTX and associated HECO Chain recently moved to Tornado Cash.

Like other cryptocurrency mixers, Tornado Cash allows users to deposit cryptocurrencies which can then be withdrawn by a different address, effectively obscuring the trail of funds.

The platform was sanctioned in August 2022 for facilitating the laundering of over US$1 billion, including funds linked to the Lazarus Group.

Tornado Cash remains operational due to its decentralized nature and the immutability of smart contracts.

Developers of Tornado Cash, have been charged with various crimes by U.S. authorities.

As of January this year, developers Roman Storm and Alexey Pertsev received over US$350,000 in donations to fund their legal fees from the public.