Hamas has been leveraging a global financial network to channel support from charities and sympathetic nations, employing various methods, including cryptocurrencies, to circumvent international sanctions.
This has prompted the Israeli authorities to freeze several crypto accounts and seize millions of dollars worth of crypto coins following its attack on the country.
Israel Freezes Over 100 Binance Hamas-Linked Accounts
According to a report by FT, over 100 accounts on Binance over suspected links to Hamas have been closed since the start of the terrorist organization’s assault on October 7. The authorities have requested additional information on around 200 crypto accounts, most of which are held on the exchange.
This freezing of accounts is part of a broader global initiative aimed at overseeing and governing digital currencies to combat their exploitation for illicit purposes. Cryptocurrencies, owing to their decentralized structure and the potential for user anonymity, have gained favor among terrorist groups as a means of raising funds.
The development was confirmed by Binance adhering to the recognized sanctions rules. The company told FT that it had “blocked” a “small number” of accounts on the platform but has yet to disclose the actual numbers.
Tom Alexandrovich, executive director at the Israel National Cyber Directorate, was quoted saying,
“In this period of war, cryptocurrency is a major issue for financing terror because there are no other options. The amount (of crypto funds) has super-increased since the attack began.”
Individuals familiar with Israel’s enforcement efforts have reported that approximately 150 donation campaigns associated with Hamas and other groups have been identified since October 7. Last week, the Israeli police force announced in a social media post that it had frozen an unspecified number of accounts used by Hamas for fundraising.
US financial regulators have previously alleged connections between funds held on Binance and Hamas. In a lawsuit filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against the exchange in March, it was claimed that senior Binance executives had received information related to “Hamas transactions” in 2019.
As per the lawsuit, a Binance employee at that time informed colleagues that terrorists typically send “small sums” because “large sums constitute money laundering.” Another individual made a comment in jest, stating that someone “can barely buy an AK-47 with 600 bucks.” Binance has stated its intent to contest the lawsuit.
Tether Freezes $873k in Crypto
Prominent stablecoin issuer Tether recently announced the freezing of 32 addresses containing $873,118.34 that were found to have links to illicit activities in Israel and Ukraine.
The company behind USDT teamed up with the National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing of Israel (NBCTF) to tackle crypto-funded terrorism and warfare.