According to the Agence France-Presse, a South Korean CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange was detained under suspicion of trying to provide military secrets to North Korea. He and his accomplice, an unidentified military captain, received payments from the North Korean agent.
According to South Korean authorities, this was the first time a "civilian and an active-duty military captain" were caught trying to obtain military secrets on the request of a North Korean official.
According to a representative from the Korean National Police Agency, "the two men have been arrested on charges of violating the national security law."
The 38-year-old CEO led a cryptocurrency management business 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 receiving 48 million won and the CEO receiving $600,000.
Lee was allegedly asked to "recruit an active-duty officer in order to investigate military secrets" in July 2021. He presented the army captain a watch with a hidden camera and created a hacking device to the army captain. The army captain then provided the login details to the North Korean agent.
In February, a United Nations report claimed that North Korean cybercrime organizations stole more than $50 million from three cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to the US Security Council, the North Korean government has used stolen cryptocurrency to finance mass destruction and ballistic missiles.