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Two brothers accused of stealing $25 million worth of crypto

The brothers, Anton and James Peraire-Bueno, face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

Published by Web Desk

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Two brothers were taken into federal custody Tuesday for allegedly stealing about $25 million worth of cryptocurrency in just a few seconds in a “first-of-its-kind manipulation” of the Ethereum blockchain. The brothers — Anton Peraire-Bueno and James Peraire-Bueno — studied math and computer science at MIT and used the skills they had acquired “at one of the most prestigious universities in the country” to exploit “the very integrity of the Ethereum blockchain in order to fraudulently obtain” the funds, prosecutors say. The brothers were charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“Unfortunately for the defendants, their alleged crimes were no match for Department of Justice prosecutors and IRS agents, who unraveled this first-of-its-kind wire fraud and money laundering scheme,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a press release. 

Though the heist was carried out in a matter of seconds, the brothers spent months plotting it, charging documents claim. The indictment claims that the Peraire-Bueno brothers “carefully planned and executed” the attack, beginning sometime in December 2022. The brothers allegedly created “an online document” laying out their four-step plan: 1) The Bait, 2) Unblinding the Block, 3) The Search, and 4) The Propagation.

The brothers set up a series of Ethereum validators “in a manner that concealed their identities through the use of shell companies, intermediary cryptocurrency addresses, foreign exchanges, and a privacy layer network,” according to the indictment. They allegedly targeted three traders — whose behavior they had studied for months ahead of time, prosecutors claim — and set up “a series of test transactions or ‘bait transactions’” to attract bots the traders used.

Prosecutors claim the brothers exploited a vulnerability in Etherum’s code that has since been patched. “In doing so, they fraudulently gained access to pending private transactions and used that access to alter certain transactions and obtain their victims’ cryptocurrency,” the Department of Justice’s press release claims.

After stealing approximately $25 million worth of cryptocurrency, the Peraire-Bueno brothers allegedly laundered the funds through several shell companies. The brothers’ online search history in the weeks following the alleged theft included “top crypto lawyers,” “how long is us statue [sic] of limitations,” “fraudulent Ethereum access database,” and “money laundering statue [sic] of limitations.” Charging documents claim one victim and their lawyer repeatedly contacted the Peraire-Bueno brothers between April and June of 2023, as did a representative from Ethereum.

If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the three counts, according to the DOJ.

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Pakistan

Shehbaz nominated acting president of PML-N

Nawaz Sharif nominated Shehbaz Sharif as acting president

Published by Noor Fatima

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Lahore: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was unanimously nominated as acting president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The meeting of the central working committee of Muslim League (N) was held at the party secretariat in Model Town in which Shehbaz Sharif was nominated as acting president.

Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Ishaq Dar and others participated in the meeting.

Shehbaz Sharif and Ahsan suggested the name of Nawaz Sharif for acting president. Maryam, Sanaullah, Ishaq, Pervez Rashid and other members supported, however, Nawaz Sharif nominated Shehbaz Sharif as acting president.

The prime minister will remain the acting president of PML-N till May 28. On this occasion, the date of the general council meeting was also announced.

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World

North Korea test-fires tactical ballistic missile

The launch was the latest in a string of ever more sophisticated tests by North Korea

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Seol (AFP): North Korea has test-fired a tactical ballistic missile equipped with a “new autonomous navigation system”, state media said Saturday, with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to boost the country’s nuclear force.

Kim oversaw the Friday test-launch into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, on a mission to evaluate the “accuracy and reliability of the autonomous navigation system”, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The launch was the latest in a string of ever more sophisticated tests by North Korea, which has fired off cruise missiles, tactical rockets and hypersonic weapons in recent months, in what the nuclear-armed, UN-sanctioned country says is a drive to upgrade its defences.

The Friday launch came hours after leader Kim’s powerful sister Kim Yo Jong denied allegations by Seoul and Washington that Pyongyang is shipping weapons to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine.

Seoul’s military on Friday described the test as “several flying objects presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles” from North Korea’s eastern Wonsan area into waters off its coast.

The suspected missiles travelled around 300 kilometres (186 miles) before splashing down in waters between South Korea and Japan, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said.

“The accuracy and reliability of the autonomous navigation system were verified through the test fire,” Pyongyang’s KCNA said Saturday, adding leader Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over the launch.

In a separate report released on Saturday, KCNA said Kim visited a military production facility the previous day and urged for “more rapidly bolstering the nuclear force” of the nation “without halt and hesitation”.

During the visit, he said the “enemies would be afraid of and dare not to play with fire only when they witness the nuclear combat posture of our state”, according to KCNA.

Pyongyang’s nuclear force “will meet a very important change and occupy a remarkably raised strategic position” when its munitions production plan, aimed to be completed by 2025, is carried out, it added.

Putin’s attention

Seoul and Washington have accused North Korea of sending arms to Russia, which would violate rafts of United Nations sanctions on both countries, with experts saying the recent spate of testing may be of weapons destined for use on battlefields in Ukraine.

North Korea is barred by UN sanctions from any tests using ballistic technology, but its key ally Moscow used its UN Security Council veto in March to effectively end UN monitoring of violations, for which Pyongyang has specifically thanked Russia.

But leader Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong said Friday that Pyongyang had “no intention to export our military technical capabilities to any country”, adding that the North’s priority was “to make the war readiness and war deterrent of our army more perfect in quality and quantity”.

She accused Seoul and Washington of “misleading the public opinion” with their allegations that Pyongyang was transferring arms to Russia.

The Friday launches come as Russian leader Vladimir Putin was in China on Friday, the final day of a visit aiming to promote crucial trade with Beijing – North Korea’s most important ally – and win greater support for his war effort in Ukraine.

North Korea’s latest weapons tests were likely intended to attract the attention of Putin while he was in China, said Ahn Chan-il, a defector-turned-researcher who runs the World Institute for North Korea Studies.

The North would benefit greatly from an expected visit by Putin to Pyongyang, and “they want their country to be used as a military logistics base during Russia’s ongoing war (in Ukraine)”, he told AFP.

Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said: “China and Russia’s irresponsible handling of North Korea, riding on the new Cold War dynamics, is further encouraging Pyongyang’s nuclear armament.”

Inter-Korean relations are at one of their lowest points in years, with Pyongyang declaring Seoul its “principal enemy”.

It has jettisoned agencies dedicated to reunification and threatened war over “even 0.001 mm” of territorial infringement.

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