Rupert Murdoch calls off proposed Fox-News Corp merger

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, arrives at the Sun Valley Resort of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 10, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch has withdrawn his proposal to re-combine Fox Corp and News Corp.

Fox said Tuesday its board received a letter from Murdoch, its chairman, and his son and Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch that “determined that a combination is not optimal for the shareholders” of either of the companies at the time.

The potential merger had faced opposition from shareholders in recent months, who didn’t believe a merger would show the true value of News Corp. if it merged with Fox.

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson told employees Tuesday the decision to call off the proposed deal would have no impact on employees, according to a memo reviewed by CNBC. He also urged them to keep tight-lipped about the matter.

“As I advised at the beginning of this process, it is best not to speculate on speculation, and so if you do hear from any media, shareholders, customers or others, please alert the communications team in your business,” Thomson wrote.

In October, the companies said they had formed a special committee to consider the deal.

A combination of the two companies would have unified leadership in Murdoch’s empire and cut costs at a time when the audience is shrinking for both print and TV media. News Corp owns Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. Fox, with what was left over from the $71.3 billion Twenty-First Century Fox sale to Disney in 2019, owns right-wing networks Fox News and Fox Business, which is a CNBC competitor.

Murdoch had split up the companies in 2013. The Murdoch family trust controls about 40% of the voting rights of both companies.

At the time, the thinking behind the reunion would have been to simply give the merged company greater scale to compete at a time when media companies are competing for subscribers and digital advertising spending, CNBC previously reported.

However, some shareholders, like Independent Franchise Partners, believed the merger wouldn’t have realized the full potential value of News Corp, and other alternatives, such as a breakup of News Corp, should have been considered. The London firm is one of the largest shareholders in both News Corp and Fox that isn’t Murdoch.

Irenic Capital Management was another shareholder that pushed back on the proposed merger, saying Fox didn’t serve News Corp’s strategic goals. Both Irenic and Independent Franchise believe News Corp shares are undervalued. Class A shares of Fox closed at $32.67 on Tuesday, while News Corp’s Class A shares closed at $19.53.

In addition to Dow Jones, News Corp also owns real estate assets such as realtor.com, book publisher HarperCollins and the New York Post.

–CNBC’s Gabrielle Fonrouge contributed to this article.

Walmart raises minimum wage as retail labor market remains tight

An employee arranges beauty product gift boxes displayed for sale at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in Los Angeles, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walmart said Tuesday it is raising its minimum wage for store employees to $14 an hour, representing a roughly 17% jump for the workers who stock shelves and cater to customers.

Starting in early March, store employees will make between $14 and $19 an hour. They currently earn between $12 and $18 an hour, according to Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield.

With the move, the retailer’s U.S. average hourly wage is expected to be more than $17.50, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said in an employeewide memo Tuesday. That’s an increase from an average of $17 an hour.

About 340,000 store employees will get a raise because of the move, Hatfield said. That amounts to a pay increase for roughly 21% of Walmart’s 1.6 million employees.

The retail giant, which is the country’s largest private employer, is hiking pay at an interesting moment. Weaker retail sales trends have prompted companies, including Macy’s and Lululemon, to recently warn investors about a tougher year ahead. Some economists are calling for a recession amid persistent inflation and shifting consumer habits.

Prominent tech companies, media organizations and banks, including Google, Amazon and Goldman Sachs, have laid off thousands of employees and set off alarm bells. Still, the jobs market has remained strong. Nonfarm payroll growth slowed slightly in December, but was better than expected. And the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week.

So far, retailers have largely avoided job cuts. Instead, they continue to grapple with a tight labor market. And they have a workforce that, like other Americans, is feeling the pinch from pricier food, electricity and more.

Retail, compared with other industries, tends to have higher churn than other industries — which allows employers to manage their head count by slowing the backfilling of jobs, said Gregory Daco, chief economist at EY Parthenon, the global strategy consulting arm of Ernst & Young.

Yet he said retailers may also be planning cautiously. For the past 18 months, they have had to work harder to recruit and retain workers. If they lose too many employees, he said, hiring and training new employees can be costly.

“Any retailer is going to have to think carefully and think twice about laying off a good share of their workforce,” he said.

In Walmart’s employee memo, Furner said the wage hike will be part of many employees’ annual increases. Some of those pay increases will also go toward store employees who work in parts of the country where the labor market is more competitive, the company said.

Walmart is sweetening other perks to attract and retain employees, too. Furner said the company is adding more college degrees and certificates to its Live Better U program, which covers tuition and fees for part- and full-time workers. It is also creating more high-paid roles at its auto care centers and recruiting employees to become truck drivers, a job that can pay up to $110,000 in the first year. 

The wage hike lifts Walmart’s average pay to around the industry average, but it remains below several other major retailers, according to Just Capital, which partners with CNBC on an annual ranking of America’s largest publicly traded companies on issues that reflect priorities of the American public.

Target, Amazon and Best Buy have all raised their minimum wages to $15 an hour. Amazon and Target, however, were behind Walmart in rolling out their own debt-free college degree programs in 2021.

Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an event to promote his new book at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank on October 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Lawyers for former Vice President Mike Pence said a “small number” of classified documents were found at his home in Carmel, Indiana, last week.

Pence’s lawyers notified the National Archives and Records Administration of the discovery on Wednesday, according to a letter obtained by CNBC.

The classified documents were discovered on Jan. 16 after Pence had outside counsel with experience handling classified documents search his own home and records “out of an abundance of caution,” following the news that classified documents were found at President Joe Biden’s home and office, an attorney for Pence told the Archives. The discovery, which was reported earlier by CNN, came after Pence said on several occasions he did not have any classified documents.

Gregory Jacob, an attorney at O’Melveny tasked with handling Pence’s records, said in letter sent Sunday to the National Archives that the Justice Department sent FBI agents to Pence’s home at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday to retrieve the documents, which were being stored in a safe, while he was in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life.

Read Jacob’s letters to the National Archives here:

Congressional leaders were informed of the discovery on Tuesday by Pence’s team.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed two separate special counsels to investigate Biden and former President Donald Trump for their handling of classified materials.

The White House disclosed on Jan. 9 that documents were found at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, DC on Nov. 2 by personal attorneys for Biden. The attorneys then notified the National Archives, leading to an investigation by the Justice Department. Additional documents were later found by Biden’s attorneys at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Dec. 20, prompting a search of the home by FBI agents on Friday.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, was searched by the FBI in August, after months of discussions between the National Archives, Justice Department and Trump. Officials found 15 boxes containing hundreds of documents marked classified in the raid.

Unlike Biden, who agreed to the search, Trump refused to cooperate and was eventually issued a warrant for the search. Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong in his handling of documents after his presidency and has claimed any classified material was declassified by him before he left office, despite evidence pointing to the contrary.

Trump defended his former vice president in a post on his Truth Social website.

“Mike Pence is an innocent man,” Trump wrote. “He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”

Special counsel Robert Hur, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland, was tapped by Garland to investigate Biden’s handling of classified material on Jan. 12. Garland appointed Jack Smith, a former federal prosecutor, to look into Trump’s handling of classified documents on Nov. 18. Smith is also investigating Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The FBI declined to comment and referred to the Justice Department which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on the Pence revelations when asked by reporters about it on Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigations.

“The Department of Justice is independent, and we will not politically interfere,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’ve been very, very clear about that.”

Biden told reporters in Mexico City on Jan. 10 he was “surprised” by the discovery of the documents.

In an interview with CBS News on Jan. 10, before the documents were found at his home, Pence said that he was “confident” there were no classified materials in his possession from his White House tenure.

“Our staff reviewed all of the materials in our office and in our residence to ensure that there were no classified materials that left the White House or remained in our possession,” Pence said. “I remain confident that that was done in a thorough and careful way. Clearly, in the waning days of the Trump-Pence administration, that process was not properly executed by staff around the president of the United States.”

Pence told Fox Business on Jan. 12, before classified documents were found at his own home, the situation was a “very serious matter.”

“The handling of classified materials and the nation’s secret is a very serious matter and as a former vice president of the United States, I can speak from personal experience about the attention that ought to be paid to those materials when you’re in office and after you leave office,” he told FOX Business. “And clearly that did not take place in this case.”

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., told reporters Tuesday the United States could be over-classifying information. Graham also said he believed the documents crisis was now moving beyond politics.

“What became a political problem for Republicans has now become a national security problem for the country,” Graham said at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

— CNBC’s Kayla Tausche contributed to this article.

Treasury suspends some federal retirement funding

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen listens to a reporter’s question at a news conference during the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, U.S., October 14, 2022. 

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The U.S. Treasury will suspend full funding of a federal retirement program, the latest in a string of actions it has taken to prevent default after the government hit its debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told congressional leaders Tuesday.

The Treasury is taking so-called extraordinary measures to keep paying its bills after it breached its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit Thursday. Yellen has said she expects the actions to prevent default at least until June 5.

This is the third action the Treasury has taken to ensure the government, restricted from borrowing amid debt ceiling negotiations, still has enough money to pay its bills. Last week, Yellen suspended new investments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund until June 5.

Lawmakers are trying to strike a deal to lift the U.S. borrowing limit and prevent a first-ever default on U.S. debt. Some members of the new Republican House majority have pushed to tie spending cuts to an increase in the borrowing limit.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that Republicans have “resorted to brinkmanship and hostage-taking” as they make “demands for draconian spending cuts.”

Yellen on Tuesday said interest-bearing securities for the Government Securities Investment Fund, or the so-called “G Fund,” will be underfunded until the debt limit is increased or suspended. The fund is part of the Thrift Savings Fund under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System.

“The statute governing G Fund investments expressly authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend investment of the G Fund to avoid breaching the statutory debt limit,” Yellen wrote in a letter addressed to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Tuesday. “My predecessors have taken this suspension action in similar circumstances.”

She added that the fund will be “made whole” once Congress raises the debt ceiling. Yellen said federal retirees and employees “will be unaffected by this action.”

DOJ files second antitrust suit against Google, seeks to break up its ad business

The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday filed its second antitrust lawsuit against Google in just over two years. It’s the latest sign that the U.S. government is not backing down from cases against tech firms even in light of a mixed record in court on antitrust suits.

Google shares were down 1.3% Tuesday afternoon.

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This lawsuit, which is focused on Google’s online advertising business and seeks to make Google divest parts of the business, is the first against the company filed under the Biden administration. The Department’s earlier lawsuit, filed in October 2020 under the Trump administration, accused Google of using its alleged monopoly power to cut off competition for internet search through exclusionary agreements. That case is expected to go to trial in September.

Google’s advertising business generated $54.5 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30 from Search, YouTube, Google Network ads and other advertising.

Google also faces three other antitrust lawsuits from large groups of state attorneys general, including one focused on its advertising business led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia joined DOJ in the latest lawsuit.

Google’s advertising business has drawn critics because the platform operates on multiple sides of the market — buying, selling and an ad exchange — giving it unique insight into the process and potential leverage. The company has long denied that it dominates the online advertising market, pointing to the market share of competitors including Meta’s Facebook.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department and the states argue that Google sought to control all sides of the market, realizing “it could become ‘the be-all, and end-all location for all ad serving.'”

“Google would no longer have to compete on the merits; it could simply set the rules of the game to exclude rivals,” they allege.

According to the complaint, even one of Google’s own advertising executives questioned the wisdom of Google’s broad ownership in the space.

“[I]s there a deeper issue with us owning the platform, the exchange, and a huge network?” the executive allegedly asked. “The analogy would be if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE.”

The harm of Google’s practices, they allege, is that “website creators earn less, and advertisers pay more, than they would in a market where unfettered competitive pressure could discipline prices and lead to more innovative ad tech tools that would ultimately result in higher quality and lower cost transactions for market participants.”

As a result, they added, more publishers are forced to turn to alternative models like subscriptions to fund their operations.

Another part of Google’s strategy, the complaint alleges, was to acquire other companies to grow its power in the advertising market and “set the stage for Google’s later exclusionary conduct across the ad tech industry.” Those acquisitions included a 2008 purchase of publisher ad server DoubleClick and and a “nascent ad exchange” that would become Google’s AdX. This allowed Google to require publishers in some instances to use all of its tools to gain access to any one, rather than working with rival tools for parts of the online ad-buying process.

“In effect, Google was robbing from Peter (the advertisers) to pay Paul (the publishers), all the while collecting a hefty transaction fee for its own privileged position in the middle,” the enforcers allege. “Rather than helping to fund website publishing, Google was siphoning off advertising dollars for itself through the imposition of supra-competitive fees on its platforms. A rival publisher ad server could not compete with Google’s inflated ad prices, especially without access to Google’s captive advertiser demand from Google Ads.”

Google continued to identify potential threats to its dominance, the complaint alleges, like when yield management tools became available to help publishers find better prices for their inventory in real-time outside of Google’s ecosystem.

“So, in response, Google employed a familiar tactic: acquire, then extinguish, any competitive threat,” the complainants wrote, pointing to Google’s 2011 acquisition of yield manager AdMeld.

“Today’s lawsuit from the DOJ attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “It largely duplicates an unfounded lawsuit by the Texas Attorney General, much of which was recently dismissed by a federal court. DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.”

The DOJ Antitrust Division’s progressive chief, Jonathan Kanter, had recently been cleared to work on Google-related matters, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month. Bloomberg had previously reported that Kanter was not permitted to work on issues involving the company while the Department evaluated Google’s request to review his grounds for recusal. Before his time in government, Kanter represented some of Google’s rivals and critics, including Yelp and News Corp.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement last year that Kanter’s prior work and statements “raise serious concerns about his ability to be impartial.”

Google is far from the only tech giant that has seen scrutiny from the federal government. At the Federal Trade Commission, Meta is also the subject of two antitrust suits, as is Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision.

Google and other tech companies have also faced increasing scrutiny from abroad, particularly in Europe, where Google has also fought multiple competition cases and new regulations threaten major changes to tech business models.

The company reports earnings on Feb. 2.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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WATCH: Google faces fast and furious pace of lawsuits as antitrust scrutiny intensifies

Microsoft (MSFT) earnings Q2 2023

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at the company’s Ignite Spotlight event in Seoul on Nov. 15, 2022. Nadella gave a keynote speech at an event hosted by the company’s Korean unit.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft will report fiscal second-quarter results after the close of regular trading on Tuesday.

Here’s what analysts are expecting:

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  • Earnings: $2.30 per share, adjusted, according to Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $52.96 billion, according to Refinitiv.

Sales growth is expected to come in at just 2.3% year over year, which would be the weakest expansion for Microsoft in any period since 2016.

The company faces concerns across the board. When CEO Satya Nadella announced 10,000 job cuts last week, he noted that clients in every industry around the world have taken a more cautious approach because of recession concerns.

As of Monday’s close, Microsoft shares were down 18% over the past year, slightly underperforming the Nasdaq.

The growth engine of Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud unit is the Azure public cloud. In October, executives said the company’s engineers were busy helping customers be more efficient with their Azure infrastructure services. Last week Nadella wrote that “we’re now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less.”

Microsoft’s Windows business, housed inside the More Personal Computing unit, is reckoning with a pullback in the PC market. Technology industry researcher Gartner estimated that during the fourth quarter of 2022 the PC business had its slowest growth since the company started keeping track of the market in the mid-1990s.

The third unit, Productivity and Business Processes, contains the Microsoft 365 productivity suite formerly known as Office. In recent days some analysts have said they expect slower growth in seats purchased by business customers.

The decision to reduce headcount “shows a commitment to margin defense despite top-line shakiness,” analysts at Raymond James wrote in a note to clients on Monday. They recommend buying Microsoft shares.

Microsoft said the layoffs, along with hardware lineup changes and lease consolidation fees, will result in a $1.2 billion charge and a negative impact on earnings of 12 cents per share.

WATCH: Longer term, Microsoft has a massive secular growth story, says Oppenheimer’s Horan

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NYSE says trading issue that led to dozens of stocks being halted has been resolved

Several stocks halted due to 'exchange-related issue'

Trading in dozens of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange was briefly halted shortly after the market opened Tuesday due to an apparent technical issue.

The major stocks impacted included Morgan Stanley, Verizon, AT&T, Nike and McDonald’s, according to the NYSE’s website. Many stocks were shown to have abnormally large moves when the market opened, which may have triggered volatility halts.

CNBC’s Bob Pisani said on “Squawk on the Street” that the issue appears to be a technical one and not something that happened on the trading floor.

Many of the companies impacted resumed trading before 9:45 a.m. ET. The NYSE said at roughly 9:50 a.m. that all of its systems were operational. CNBC has reached out to the NYSE for more details about the issue.

The exchange said in a statement at 10:21 a.m. ET that it is still investigating the issue with the opening auction.

The NYSE, like some other exchanges, has automatic halts in place for stocks that move dramatically in one direction or another. On a normal trading day, few if any stocks are halted for volatility on the NYSE.

The other major U.S. stock exchange, the Nasdaq, did not appear to be impacted by the technical issue.

Correction: The NYSE technical issue took place Tuesday. A previous version misstated the day of the week.

5 in-demand remote side hustles that pay $100,000 or more

Earning a six-figure income from home might sound too good to be true, but to make this dream a reality, you might just need a strong internet connection and the right skillset. 

The widespread adoption of remote working has created more opportunities for people to find flexible, high-paying side hustles they can do online. 

Some 44% of Americans are dabbling in a side hustle, up from 12% of Americans who had one in 2020, according to a December 2022 LendingTree survey of 2,100 U.S. adults.

More side hustlers are pivoting from the in-person jobs that defined the gig economy of the mid-2000s — driving for Uber, delivering food for Grubhub — and pursuing high-end opportunities in “professional services” instead, such as computer programming, IT, marketing and business consulting. 

To help people interested in pursuing a side hustle find the best remote opportunities, Freelancer.com has identified 5 in-demand side hustles that can be done from home, based on more than 300,000 listings posted on their database between October and December 2022. The earnings information comes from this sample of projects.

These jobs have dozens of active listings and offer remote, part-time opportunities. 

Here are five of the highest-paid, most in-demand side hustles that can be done from home, according to Freelancer.com: 

The online market for freelance tech talent, in particular, has “exploded” over the last 12 months even though mass job cuts have continued to plague the tech sector, Sebastián Siseles, international vice president at Freelancer.com, tells CNBC Make It. 

Reliance on contractors surged during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in tech, as more companies had to shift to online business models and keep pace with the rapid onslaught of new technologies, from crypto to AI, per a November 2022 report from HR platform Gusto.

While coding, programming and other tech specialties have always been sought-after side hustles, the recent spate of tech layoffs has prompted “unprecedented fluctuations” in demand for niche tech skills like Android app development and different programming languages as companies lean on freelancers to reduce costs, Matt Barrie, the CEO and founder of Freelancer.com says.

If you’re interested in picking up a tech side hustle, you’ll need to build your expertise through online courses, coding bootcamps and programming podcasts. 

Next, create a digital portfolio of work samples to share with prospective clients. To find out where the jobs are and list your own services, consider creating a profile on Upwork, Freelancer.com, Fiverr, TaskRabbit or a different website advertising freelance jobs.

Ultimately, however, you don’t need to be a tech wiz to build a successful side hustle. Other jobs that offer part-time, remote opportunities, including tutoring, blog writing and business consulting, have also seen growing demand on Freelancer.com, Siseles adds — and some of these gigs can pay up to $100 per hour.

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Oscar nominations announced: Read the list

An Oscar statue is shown in a shopping mall next to the arrivals area as preparation for the 92nd Academy Awards continues in Los Angeles, California, February 7, 2020.

Mike Blake | Reuters

The nominations for the 95th annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning.

In the early going, “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “The Fabelmans” looked like they were primed to lead the field.

The Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with Jimmy Kimmel as host and will be televised live on ABC. This year’s ceremony is sure to draw extra attention after Will Smith smacked Chris Rock during last year’s show.

Here are the nominees of major categories:

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau, The Whale

Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Stepanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway

Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans

Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Adapted Screenplay

All Quiet on the Western Front

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Living

Top Gun: Maverick

Women Talking

Best Original Screenplay

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Fabelmans

Tar

Triangle of Sadness

Best International Feature

All Quiet on the Western Front

Argentina, 1985

Close

EO

The Quiet Girl

Best Song

Applause, Tell it Like a Woman

Hold My Hand, Top Gun: Maverick

Lift Me Up, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Naatu Naatu, RRR

This is a Life, Everything Everywhere All At Once

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

North Korea-linked hackers behind $100 million crypto heist, FBI says

The FBI claims North Korea-linked hackers were behind a $100 million crypto heist on the so-called Horizon bridge last year.

Budrul Chukrut | Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

North Korean-linked actors were behind the theft of $100 million through the hack of a crypto product last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

The FBI said it was “able to confirm” that Lazarus Group and APT38, two hacking groups linked to Pyongyang, were responsible for the attack on the so-called Horizon bridge in 2022.

Traders use a bridge to swap cryptocurrencies between different blockchain networks.

The FBI also said that the North Korean cyber actors this month used the Railgun system to launder over $60 million worth of the token ether stolen during the June 2022 heist. Railgun is a system designed to help preserve the anonymity of people moving cryptocurrency.

A portion of the stolen ether was sent to several virtual asset service providers and converted to bitcoin, the FBI said.

At the time of the hack, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic said that there were “strong indications” that Lazarus was behind the attack. Almost immediately, the hackers were attempting to move the funds around through means to obfuscate their identity.

The FBI said it continues “to identify and disrupt North Korea’s theft and laundering of virtual currency, which is used to support North Korea’s ballistic missile and Weapons of Mass Destruction programs.”

North Korean-linked attackers have been pinned to other crypto hacks.

Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department blamed Lazarus for a $600 million heist on Ronin Network, a so-called “sidechain” for popular crypto game Axie Infinity.

CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report

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