Crypto Moves — Bitcoin and Ethereum decline; North Korea may be behind $100m crypto hack

Update Crypto Moves — Bitcoin and Ethereum decline; North Korea may be behind $100m crypto hack
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 1.26 percent to $20,003.20. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 June 2022

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin and Ethereum decline; North Korea may be behind $100m crypto hack

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin and Ethereum decline; North Korea may be behind $100m crypto hack

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Thursday, falling by 1.26 percent to $20,003.20 as of 8:10 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,088.40, falling by 5.12 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Russia investigating 400 cases related to cryptocurrency

The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation is trying to detect around 400 cases in which cryptocurrencies are involved, the agency’s director, Yury Chikhanchin, revealed the number during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Russian law enforcement authorities have already initiated 20 criminal cases related to digital assets, Bitcoin.com reported. 

Chikhanchin acknowledged that Russians continue to actively use cryptocurrency platforms located outside the country.

“This phenomenon continues to exist. And only on two foreign sites, two exchanges, several hundred thousand Russian citizens participate in transactions worth tens of billions,”  he said. 

According to official data released earlier this year, the number of lawsuits related to cryptocurrency mining in Russia exceeded 1,500 in 2021.

Experts suspect North Korea behind $100 million crypto hack

Digital investigative firms have concluded that North Korean hackers are most likely responsible for an attack last week that took as much as $100 million in cryptocurrency from a US company, according to Reuters.

Cryptocurrency assets were stolen on June 23 from Horizon Bridge, a service provided by Harmony blockchain that transfers assets between blockchains.

The hackers’ activity since then suggests they may be affiliated with North Korea, which experts say is among the most prolific cyberattackers. 

The UN sanctions monitors say Pyongyang uses the stolen funds to finance its nuclear and missile programs.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Chainalysis, a blockchain firm working with Harmony to investigate the attack, said the attack pattern and high velocity of structured payments to a mixer were similar to previous attacks attributed to North Korea-linked actors.

“Preliminarily this looks like a North Korean hack based on transaction behavior,” said Nick Carlsen, a former FBI analyst who now works for TRM Labs investigating North Korea’s crypto heists.

A report released by another company, Elliptic, on Thursday indicated there are strong indications that North Korea’s Lazarus Group may be behind the theft.

“The thief is attempting to break the transaction trail back to the original theft,” the report said. “This makes it easier to cash out the funds at an exchange,” it added.

If this attack is confirmed then North Korea would account for 60 percent of total funds stolen in 2022, according to Chainalysis, totaling $1 billion in stolen funds.

South Korean officials and experts told Reuters that the recent drop in cryptocurrency values may have made it harder for North Korea to sell stolen assets.

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi jeweler L’azurde posts 22% profit jump in H1 on strong retail sales

Saudi jeweler L’azurde posts 22% profit jump in H1 on strong retail sales
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi jeweler L’azurde posts 22% profit jump in H1 on strong retail sales

Saudi jeweler L’azurde posts 22% profit jump in H1 on strong retail sales

RIYADH: Saudi jeweler L’azurde has reported a 22 percent profit rise in the first half of 2022 on the back of higher retail sales.

It reported a profit of SR22.2 million ($5.9 million) in the first half compared to SR18 million in the same period last year, according to a bourse filing.

The results were helped by higher revenues, higher gross profits, and reduced financing costs.

Saudi retail revenues surged 12.6 percent over the same period last year following the easing of precautionary measures regarding COVID-19.

In Egypt, retail revenues rose 5 percent due to an increase in revenues at the same stores, the opening of new outlets in the past year, and the increase in selling prices to counter the lower exchange rate, it said.


Red Sea International reduces $80m capital to write off accumulated losses 

Red Sea International reduces $80m capital to write off accumulated losses 
Updated 7 min 54 sec ago

Red Sea International reduces $80m capital to write off accumulated losses 

Red Sea International reduces $80m capital to write off accumulated losses 

RIYADH: Red Sea International Co. said its accumulated losses have dropped to zero, following an SR298 million ($80 million) capital reduction.

The Saudi-listed construction firm brought down its capital to SR302 million from SR600 million, by canceling nearly 30 million shares, according to a bourse filing.

The purpose of the transaction was to extinguish accumulated losses, which amounted to almost 58 percent of the capital, or SR346 million, as of June end.

Most recently, Red Sea International reported that its net loss widened by 7 percent to SR67 million in its financial results for the first half of 2022.


Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices

Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices
Updated 28 min 45 sec ago

Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices

Saudi annual inflation rate rises to 2.7% in July driven by high food prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 2.7 percent in July, from 2.3 percent in June, according to the recent data released by the General Authority for Statistics, also known as GASTAT.

The uptick in the Consumer Price Index, as it is called in technical terms, is driven by a rise in food and beverage prices, GASTAT added. 

According to the report, food and beverage prices showed an annual increase of 3.9 percent, while meat prices surged by 5.1 percent. 

“Food and beverages prices were the main drivers of the inflation rate in July 2022 due to their high relative importance in the Saudi consumer basket with a weight of 18.8 percent,“ said GASTAT. 

Transport prices increased by 3.6 percent, mainly due to the increase in the purchase of motor cars prices which went up by 4.2 percent. 

The GASTAT report further revealed that personal goods and services prices in the Kingdom also increased by 2.1 percent. 

Restaurants and hotels prices increased by 6.3 percent, due to the increase in catering services prices, which went up by 6.5 percent, the report added.


Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems

Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems

Saudi IT firm solutions by stc gets approval to acquire Egypt’s Giza Systems

RIYADH: Arabian Internet and Telecommunication Co., known as solutions by stc, received approval from Saudi Arabia’s General Authority For Competition to buy a $158 million stake in Egypt's Giza Systems Co., a bourse filing revealed.

The Saudi-listed company had earlier entered a binding deal for the takeover of an 89.49 percent stake in Giza Systems in addition to 34 percent of its unit, Giza Arabia.

Subject to other regulatory conditions, solutions by stc said the transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2022, adding that any developments will be announced in due course.

 


Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market

Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market
Updated 14 August 2022

Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market

Iran’s top automaker sets sights on Russian market

TEHRAN: Iran’s leading automaker is seeking to prioritize exports to Russia, its CEO said on Sunday, as both countries reel under Western economic sanctions.

Iran Khodro unveiled the latest model of its crossover Rira vehicle at its factory west of Tehran, where CEO Mehdi Khatibi announced the manufacturer’s ambitions for the Russian market.

“We are going to pay special attention to the Russian market, and we are also thinking of partnering with Russian investors,” he said.

“We have held good negotiations with Moscow. The Russian market, with its capacities, will be one of our important markets,” Khatibi added.

“We will begin exporting this year” to Russia, he said.

Iran Khodro had previously exported vehicles to Russia, notably between 2007 and 2009, Iranian media said.

The two countries have responded to the sanctions by boosting cooperation in key areas to help prop up their economies.
The company’s vice president, Kianoush Pourmojib, struck an optimistic note on Sunday, pointing to increased exports to Azerbaijan over the past five years.

“We are ambitious about improving the quality of our vehicles,” he told AFP.

He added that while the manufacturer hopes to compete in markets such as Azerbaijan, Oman and Iraq, “in volume, it is of course Russia that is the most important.”

“This year, we will produce more than 500,000 vehicles and our goal within three years is to export 100,000 vehicles annually,” compared with fewer than 20,000 currently, he said.