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Israeli government orders seizure of crypto wallets in bid to block Hamas funding

Legal

www.theblock.co 28 February 2022 23:50, UTC
  
Reading time: ~2 m

Israeli defense minister Beni Gantz ordered the seizure of crypto assets on Monday from accounts officials said were meant to fund Hamas.

According to a statement from the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel, the accounts were connected to a business alleged to have assisted with the funding of Hamas. 

The assets in the seizure order include "dozens of thousands of shekels" from 12 accounts and about 30 digital wallets that officials say belonged to businesses that helped the Al'matchadun currency exchange company, which in turn belonged to a family known as the Shamlachs. The family also owned part of the seized cryptocurrency directly, the statement said.

The order lists names associated with the 12 accounts, as well as their email addresses.

Gantz said in the same press statement that he was “acting in every conceivable way to cut off the economic oxygen pipe of Terror.”

The Israeli government has been cracking down on the use of crypto to assist Hamas. In July 2021, Gantz ordered the seizure of 84 addresses that had received $7.7 million in cryptocurrency, according to blockchain analytics and forensics firm Elliptic. More recently, in December, assets from 47 users were also seized.

After the Israeli–Palestinian conflict escalated last year, there was an uptick in cryptocurrency donations to Hamas, a senior Hamas official told The Wall Street Journal in June. Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the US, along with the European Union, Israel and other nations.

In August 2020, US agencies announced they were seizing nearly three hundred bitcoin addresses as part of an operation targeting terrorism financing networks including one linked to Hamas.


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