The authorities of Israel have reportedly seized around 190 cryptocurrency accounts at Binance since 2021, saying some of those were tied to the terrorist groups – Hamas and Islamic State.
The exchange claimed that Reuters (the media outlet that informed about the confiscation) is “deliberately leaving out critical facts to fit their narrative.” It asserted that anti-money laundering and preventing terrorist activities remain a key focus for the company.
The Reuters/Binance Clash
According to the news agency, all seized Binance crypto accounts belonged to three Palestinian currency exchange firms designated by Israel as “terrorist organizations.”
In addition, Reuters maintained that two of the total addresses were linked to Islamic State, whereas companies controlled by Hamas owned a dozen others. A document released by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) and seen by the media outlet showed that the accounts belonged to a 28-year-old Palestinian called Osama Abuobayada.
Islamic State and Hamas have claimed responsibility for numerous incidents in the past several years, while the USA, the European Union, and many others have ranked them as some of the deadliest terrorist entities.
Reuters has criticized Binance over the years, blaming it for failing to comply with anti-money laundering procedures. It went further, claiming the company has processed more than $10 billion in payments for criminals since 2017.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange was quick to react to the allegations, saying a certain reporter from the multimedia news provider is “deliberately leaving out critical facts” to present Binance in a bad light.
It assured that anti-money laundering policies and tackling cryptocurrency-based financing of terrorism are some of the utmost standards for the firm:
“The bottom line is that we are not aware of any exchange – or other financial institution for that matter – that does more today to keep bad actors off their platform than Binance.
Our policies and processes comply with AMLD5/6 anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing requirements, and we have a robust compliance program that incorporates sophisticated anti-money laundering and global sanctions principles and tools to detect and address suspicious activity. We even have specialists on our team who have focused their entire careers on counter-terrorism.”
Binance said it has collaborated with law enforcement agencies on the aforementioned seizures. It added that wrongdoers don’t register accounts under the names of their criminal groups. However, the company takes appropriate action once it discovers such bad behavior and freezes accounts if necessary.
Subsequently, the exchange outlined that blockchain technology has “proven to be one of the most powerful tools for law enforcement’s anti-money laundering efforts” due to its immutable, public nature.
Hamas Says “No” to Bitcoin Donations
As CryptoPotato reported last month, the armed wing of Hamas – Al-Qassam Brigades – plans to stop accepting donations in BTC to protect the contributors.
Some economists, such as Mohammad Abu Jayyab, think that Israel’s agencies could track those transactions and see who has a connection to the Palestinian organization. Another suggestion is that Hamas has found more advanced options to fund its operations or has shifted back to traditional finance methods.
The American authorities halted the efforts of Hamas, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State to raise funds through digital currencies and seized $2 million in crypto in 2020. The Palestinian entity has obtained most of its BTC donations from Muslim countries since most stand behind it in its war against Israel.
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