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Israel Clamps Down on Terrorist-Linked Crypto Accounts on Binance

Israel Clamps Down on Terrorist-Linked Crypto Accounts on Binance

Israeli authorities have seized around 190 cryptocurrency accounts on Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange, since 2021. Among these accounts, two are allegedly connected to the Islamic State, and numerous others are tied to Palestinian firms accused of affiliating with the Hamas Islamist group, according to documents from Israel’s counter-terror authorities.

Seizing Accounts to Disrupt Terrorism Activities

Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) confiscated two Binance accounts on January 12 to obstruct Islamic State operations and thwart their objectives. The document, which was previously undisclosed, did not reveal the value of the seized crypto or the links between the accounts and the Islamic State.

Binance’s Cooperation with Governments and Law Enforcement

Binance, founded in 2017 by CEO Changpeng Zhao, did not comment on the issue. The company’s website states that it assesses information requests from governments and law enforcement agencies on a case-by-case basis, disclosing information when legally mandated.

Islamic State Crypto Financing and Seized Accounts

Last year, the U.S. Treasury reported that the Islamic State received cryptocurrency donations, which were later converted to cash through crypto trading platforms. The Treasury did not specify which platforms were used. Israeli authorities seized two Islamic State-linked Binance accounts owned by Palestinian Osama Abuobayda, 28.

Binance Criticized for Anti-Money Laundering Controls

Binance has been criticized for its alleged weak anti-money laundering measures. According to a Reuters report, the exchange processed over $10 billion in payments for criminals and companies evading U.S. sanctions since 2017. Binance disputes these claims, arguing that illicit-fund calculations are inaccurate and descriptions of its compliance controls are outdated.

Palestinian Firms’ Accounts Seized

Most of the Binance accounts seized by Israel since December 2021 belonged to three Palestinian currency exchange firms: Al Mutahadun For Exchange, Dubai Company for Exchange, and Al Wefaq Co. For Exchange. Israel designated these companies as “terrorist organizations” due to their alleged involvement in transferring funds to Hamas. However, Hamas denies any connection with the money exchange firms and claims the accusations are an attempt by Israel to justify its economic war against Gaza and its residents.

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