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US Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Crypto Exchange Linked to Hamas Financing

Jai Pratap
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on a crypto exchange in Gaza that is involved in Hamas fundraising. 

The targeted exchange, known as Buy Cash, operates from Gaza and is alleged to have played a role in facilitating terror financing activities.

Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terrorist Financing seized a number of crypto wallets in connection to a Hamas fundraising campaign in June 2021, some of which were linked to the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades. 

One of the seized wallet addresses belongs to Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company (Buy Cash), a Gaza-based business that provides money transfer and virtual currency exchange services, including Bitcoin. 

Since Hamas’ attack on Israel earlier this month, Israeli authorities have seized dozens of crypto accounts and seized millions of dollars worth of crypto linked to terror financing.

As reproted earlier, Hamas received nearly $41 million in crypto in lead up to the attack on Israel. 

OFAC Sanction Financial Collaborators Associated With Hamas

OFAC’s directive extends its sanctions to include ten key members and financial collaborators associated with Hamas. These individuals are spread across several countries, including Algeria, Sudan, Turkey, and Qatar. 

The move by the U.S. Treasury Department comes amid the growing concern over illicit funding channels that exploit cryptocurrencies to support terrorist activities.

As a consequence of OFAC’s action, any assets or interests in property held by the designated individuals within the United States or under the control of U.S. persons are now frozen and must be reported to OFAC. 

Entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, to the extent of 50 percent or more by these blocked individuals are also subject to sanctions.

Enforcement Action for Engaging With Sanctioned Platforms

OFAC’s regulations, unless specifically authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or granted an exemption, generally prohibit any transactions involving property or interests in property associated with designated or otherwise blocked persons conducted by U.S. individuals or taking place within the United States.

Financial institutions and other entities must take note of these sanctions, as they may face severe consequences if they engage in transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals. 

These prohibitions encompass making contributions or providing funds, goods, or services to, for, or on behalf of any designated person, as well as receiving such contributions or resources from these individuals.