Israeli authorities seize Hamas linked crypto accounts

0
69

A set of 30 cryptocurrencies from 12 exchange accounts linked to the Hamas-based terrorist group Hamas was seized on Monday by Israeli authorities.

Crypt exchange al-Mutahadun kept the wallets where 12 accounts were allegedly used by Hamas leaders to fund terrorist efforts against Israel. The Times of Israel reported Israel’s Defense Ministry said on February 28 that al-Mutahadun had helped Hamas’s military wing “by handing over tens of millions of dollars a year.”

The exact value of the abductions and specifically what cryptic assets seized are still unclear, however, Israeli officials believe Hamas is using “tens of millions of dollars” in crypto funds to fund its military. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a Feb. 28 statement

“We continue to expand our tools to tackle terrorism and the companies that supply it with the economic oxygen pipeline.”

Police agencies and banks around the world like BNY Mellon have increasingly tracked crypto transactions to point and drop the hammer against financial criminals. Blockchain transaction tracking firm Chainalysis has determined that only a small portion of cryptocurrency is used in criminal activity, however.

Hamas was accepting crypto donations since 2019 when economic sanctions began to severely limit its ability to fight Israel.

The seizure of wallets was carried out with the help of the National Office for Israel’s Anti-Terror Funding (NBCTF). The NBCTF made a similar seizure of Hamas crypto funds last July when it confiscated wallets containing Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB), Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin (LTC) , and other valuables.

Crypto tracking company Cyphertrace confirmed that the funds confiscated in July were used by al Qassam Brigades, part of the Hamas military.

Crypt-based philanthropy is by no means limited to terrorist financing. In the first two months of 2022, supporters of the Freedom Convoy in Canada and Ukraine’s resistance force against Russia amassed millions in crypto donations.

Related: US Treasury Department lists digital currencies as part of efforts to sanction Russian government

Last month, cryptocurrency exchange Binance suspended services and marketing to Israelis at the request of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Bank. The suspension is likely to take effect as long as the Authority reviews the status of Binance’s license to conduct business in the country.