Israeli Police, Assisted by Binance, Freeze Crypto Accounts Tied to Hamas, Reports Say
Recently, Israeli authorities have taken a significant step in the fight against illicit activities in the cryptocurrency space by assuming control of nearly 190 Binance accounts suspected of having links to extremist organizations.
In an official statement, Israeli authorities declared that accounts linked to the Palestinian militant group Hamas have been frozen. This move was extensively covered by local media outlet Calcalist, highlighting the joint efforts between Israel's cyber division, defense ministry, intelligence agencies, and the cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
The recent increase in hostilities initiated by Hamas against Israel led to the implementation of a comprehensive blockade of the Gaza Strip by the country's defense minister, intensifying measures against the militant group.
Israel Police's Lahav 433 unit's cyber division collaborated with various national security entities and Binance to identify and target the flagged accounts. Any funds seized in this operation will be directed into the Israeli national treasury, further emphasizing the government's determination to combat illicit financial activities.
In March, the U.S. Commodities Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a lawsuit against Binance’s CEO, Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, asserting that the company's leadership was aware of "HAMAS transactions" occurring on the platform. This legal development has raised significant questions about Binance's compliance and regulatory oversight.
Since 2021, Israeli authorities have been proactively taking steps against accounts on the Binance platform suspected of having ties to terrorist groups. In June of the same year, Binance openly disclosed its cooperation with Israeli authorities in dismantling a terrorism financing operation linked to Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah.
A spokesperson for Binance has reiterated the company's commitment to actively combatting terror financing. They emphasized their dedication to safeguarding not only the blockchain ecosystem but also the global community at large. This statement was conveyed in an email exchange with Bitsday.
The seizure of accounts associated with extremist groups marks a significant stride in Israel's efforts to combat illicit activities in the cryptocurrency realm. While the collaboration with Binance proved effective in this instance, it raises broader questions about the platform's compliance protocols and regulatory adherence. As the situation evolves, it is likely to prompt further discussions about the role of cryptocurrency exchanges in ensuring global security and compliance with anti-terrorism efforts.
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