Israel Freezes 100 Binance Accounts Over Suspected Hamas Links: FT

Authorities requested information on some 200 other crypto accounts, the FT said, citing people familiar with the matter.

AccessTimeIconOct 17, 2023 at 8:11 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 18, 2023 at 3:39 p.m. UTC
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More than 100 accounts on the world's largest crypto exchange, Binance, have been frozen at the request of Israeli law enforcement since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in a bid to curtail the Palestinian militant group's funding, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Authorities have requested information on an additional 200 crypto accounts, most of which are held on Binance, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Since Hamas stormed into Israel 10 days ago, triggering a war and a siege of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, Israeli law enforcement has been working with the public and crypto firms to block fund flows to the group, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S., U.K. and many other jurisdictions worldwide.

Binance confirmed to CoinDesk last week that it was working with Israeli authorities to block terror financing. The firm told the Financial Times that it had "blocked" a "small number" of accounts on the platform, but declined to say how many.

"We are deeply saddened by the events in the Middle East. As always, Binance follows internationally recognized sanctions rules, blocking the small number of accounts linked to illicit funds. We wish for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict and the safety of all innocent civilians," a spokesperson for Binance said in a Tuesday email to CoinDesk.

The FT report also quotes an unidentified Binance employee saying the company has to "go back and find all the Binance customers that have had exposure to" each address Hamas publishes soliciting donations.

On Monday, stablecoin issuer Tether said it had frozen funds in 32 cryptocurrency addresses linked to terrorism and warfare in Israel and Ukraine, and that it was working with Israel's National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF).

UPDATE (Oct. 17, 11:03 UTC): Adds statement from Binance in fifth paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.

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