Australian racing officials are looking into a thoroughbred operation after it was revealed that the owner could've been involved in a money laundering scheme linked to a fake cryptocurrency, according to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which co-owns Australian group 1 winner Farnan, was barred from racing in France earlier in August. A prosecution witness had alleged that the owner, Amer Abdulaziz Salman of Dubai, stole $161 in the OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme.
According to SMH, OneCoin was one of the largest global scams in crypto, and stole something close to $7.2 billion from investors across multiple continents. The investors bought the coins thinking they would later see massive upswings in value.
But the cash-out never came, and one investor from Australia reportedly lost $100,000 in retirement funds.
Konstantin Ignatov, a witness for the prosecution in the trial of OneCoin lawyer Mark Scott, reportedly said Abdulaziz was one of the chief players in the scheme. Phoenix, speaking through spokespeople, denied wrongdoing.
The U.S. Cyber Command, a division of the military, aided in the procedures that seized cryptocurrency accounts allegedly aiding in laundering $29 million from cyberattacks connected to North Korea's nuclear missile and weapon program, according to The Washington Post.
According to a civil forfeiture complaint seen by the Washington Post, there were 280 accounts involved with a North Korean group called the Lazarus Group, which were allegedly ultimately going through Chinese crypto-laundering networks. The Lazarus Group has reportedly been involved in numerous such cases for years now.
The case comes as several federal agencies accused North Korean actors of using malware in order to gain illegal access to banks in several countries to initiate fake money transfers and ATM cash-outs around the world.
This action comes on the heels of another from March of this year, when $250 million in crypto exchange hacks was attributed to North Korea. But this time, the Cyber Command assisted through disclosing two new malware samples connected to the attacks, along with nine previously known samples.
The Washington Post piece quotes Air Force Capt. Katrina J. Cheesman in an email, who says the Cyber Command “shared key information with the Dept. of Justice, which enabled an investigation and resulted in the asset forfeiture complaint.”