The Israeli government has seized $1.7 million in crypto from wallets linked to the Iranian military and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon with the aide of Chainalysis, according to the Defence Minister announced and the crypto investigations firm.
It was the first time any agency seized cryptocurrency from Hezbollah and Iran's Quds Force, Chainalysis said on Tuesday.
The seizure of the crypto wallets came after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the move several weeks ago, according to a government communique. The effort involved Israel's Mossad spy agency, its military intelligence office, the Israeli police and others.
"This is the first event of this magnitude in which an infrastructure headed by Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force that transferred millions of dollars for use by terrorist elements was thwarted," Galant said while speaking at the third crypto conference of the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing in Israel's Ministry of Defense.
As many as 40 addresses were on the seizure list and all of the funds were in USDT on the TRON network (USDT-TRON), Chainalysis said. The pattern reflected that funds were moved first from financial facilitators to hawala services and OTC brokers, and then to Hezbollah-controlled addresses at mainstream exchanges.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CoinDesk.
In May, Israeli authorities seized roughly 190 Binance accounts with alleged ties to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Daesh since 2021, according to Reuters. "Amazing job my friends Binance," posted Amit Levin, head of the Economic Department within the Cyber Unit in the Office of the Israel State Attorney, at the time. "Continue cleaning our crypto eco-system from illegal activities."
Binance aided Israel in this action against Iran and Hezbollah, it said in a blog.
UPDATE (June 28, 08:18 UTC): Adds details throughout from the official announcement. Updates text and headline with Chainalysis detail.
UPDATE (June 30, 06:40 UTC): Adds quote from Amit Levin and a sentence about Binance's blog that claims to have aided Israel.
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