55 percent of the profits go to the hackers, who forwarded some of it to agents in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, which is the seat of the North Korean government. “They regularly contacted North Korean agents for close consultations,” Chung Kil-hwan, a senior officer at the police agency’s International Crime Investigation Unit, said during a news briefing.
The hackers are graduates of North Korea’s elite science universities, including the state-run Korea Computer Center in Pyongyang and the Korea Neungnado General Trading Company. According to Kil-hwan, the company reports to a shadowy Communist Party agency called Office 39, which gathers foreign hard currency for Mr. Kim through drug trafficking, counterfeiting, arms sales and other illicit activities. The slush fund is worth billions.
North Korea has denied all allegations and is instead accusing South Korea of inventing a conspiracy, while enjoying billions for a privileged few while the rest of the country mires in poverty.