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US Department of Justice Investigates Missing Digital Assets from FTX

The United States Department of Justice is reportedly investigating the whereabouts of approximately $372 million in missing digital assets from the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its US subsidiary.

US Department of Justice and Cryptocurrency Logos
US Department of Justice and Cryptocurrency Logos

The investigation was prompted by unusual wallet activity on the exchange, involving the transfer of at least 228,523 Ether on November 12.

The transactions were confirmed to be unauthorized by FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller, who stated that the exchange had moved all of its crypto assets to cold wallets as a precaution.

Unauthorized Transfers Amount to $477 Million

Blockchain forensics firm Elliptic has reported that the unauthorized transfers from FTX totaled $477 million. The perpetrator allegedly swapped the stolen Ether for RenBTC before converting it to Bitcoin through the RenBridge service. Ren is a cryptocurrency that was acquired by FTX-linked hedge fund Alameda Research in 2021 and has been accused by Elliptic of facilitating the "laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto."

FTX Logo
FTX Logo

FTX Founder Suspects Former Employee or Unauthorized Access

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, has suggested that the incident was perpetrated by either a former employee of the exchange or someone who had gained unauthorized access to a former employee's computer. In an interview with citizen journalist Tiffany Fong, Bankman-Fried stated, "I've narrowed it down to like eight people. I don't know which one it was."

Stolen Funds Transferred to Singapore-Based Exchange

According to crypto analyst ZachXBT, a portion of the stolen funds from the FTX incident was transferred to the Singapore-based exchange OKX using a Bitcoin mixer. Lennix Lai, the managing director of OKX, has stated that the exchange is aware of the situation and is investigating the wallet flow.