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.
Never been more proud to be Jewish. Yalla Yalla. #Binance https://t.co/Mtl0nAtsWM
— Not Tiger Global (@NotChaseColeman) May 4, 2023
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these claims, arguing that illicit-fund calculations are inaccurate and descriptions of its compliance controls are outdated.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.