A Mississauga man has pleaded guilty to one count of laundering money for three North Korean hackers who allegedly participated in the massive 2014 hack of Sony Pictures.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Ghaleb Alaumary “organized teams of co-conspirators in the United States and Canada to launder millions of dollars obtained through ATM cash-out operations, including from BankIslami and a bank in India in 2018.”
The DOJ also alleges that Alaumary “conspired with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, a.k.a. ‘Ray Hushpuppi,’ and others to launder funds from a North Korean-perpetrated cyber-enabled heist from a Maltese bank in February 2019.”
Alaumary is said to have been acting on behalf of three North Korean hackers — Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il and Park Jin Hyok — who allegedly carried out the 2014 cyberattack against Sony Pictures in retaliation for its North Korean-themed parody film, The Interview, which was co-written, co-directed and co-starring Vancouver-born actor Seth Rogen.
U.S. officials say the three hackers also allegedly attempted to steal close to $1.2 billion USD (about $1.5 billion CAD) from major banks around the world and developed the ‘WannaCry 2.0’ ransomware to infect computer networks. Notably, WannaCry attacks even targeted Ontario transit agency Metrolinx in 2018.
If convicted of money laundering, Alaumary faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. In Georgia, he is also facing charges related to his alleged involvement in a separate business email compromise scheme.
Image credit: Sony Pictures