Treasury expands sanctions against Gaza-based crypto exchanges

Treasury expands sanctions against Gaza-based crypto exchanges

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has implemented a fifth set of sanctions on Hamas since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

In a press release on Jan. 22, the U.S. Treasury Department said it imposed additional sanctions on Hamas in response to the terrorist attack on Israel that occurred in October 2023.

The latest sanctions target networks of Hamas-affiliated exchanges in Gaza, their owners, associates, and financial facilitators involved in funds transfers, including crypto transfers, from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

According to the Treasury, Hamas utilized various methods, including crypto, to transfer funds from Gaza to the West Bank. Herzallah Exchange and General Trading Company LLC (known as Herzallah Exchange), owned by Muhammad Fallah Kamil Hirzallah, Na’im Kamil Raghib Hirzallah, and Salah Kamil Raghib Hirzallah, have been identified as facilitating transactions, including through the use of crypto. Samir Herzallah and Brothers For Money Exchange and Remittances (known as Samir Exchange) have also worked with Hamas to facilitate money transfers, the Treasury says.

“Hamas has sought to leverage a variety of financial transfer mechanisms, including the exploitation of cryptocurrency, to channel funds to support the group’s terrorist activities.”

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson

The report does not specify which cryptocurrencies were used by the exchanges to facilitate financial transactions. In coordination with the U.K. and Australia, U.S. authorities have also imposed sanctions on key Hamas officials and facilitators, the report says.

As earlier reported, the cyber unit of Israel Police’s Lahav 433 blocked crypto accounts belonging to Hamas a few days after the Palestinian militant group launched an attack against Israel, killing hundreds of civilians. As per reports, Israel ordered Binance to locate and shut down the accounts on its platform. Lahav 433 also reportedly requested the U.K. police to block a Hamas-related account in Barclays Bank.

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