Although crypto assets have gained widespread attention worldwide, a dark side of their usage remains prevalent in illicit channels. In a recent disclosure by the Israeli government, it has come to light that the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, and the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, had been utilizing digital assets.
The Defense Minister of Israel, Yoav Gallant, announced the seizure of crypto wallets associated with Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah by Israeli authorities. This action led to the confiscation of crypto worth millions of dollars. Gallant stated that he personally issued an order to seize these wallets. He also ordered the transfer of the funds to the Israeli government, earlier this week. He added,
“This is the first incident of this magnitude, in which an infrastructure led by Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force that transferred millions of dollars to be used by terror elements was thwarted. We have effectively cut off the flow of terror funds via this channel.”
Major flow of “terror” funds cut off by Israel
The latest development is quite pertinent. Gallant emphasized that both Hezbollah and the IRGC’s Quds Force utilized digital assets as a means to finance their militant operations. He further noted that starting from the beginning of the year, members of these groups, along with “Syrian elements,” have been using crypto assets to finance their day-to-day activities. He further noted that the funding originated from a third party. It is then transferred to terrorist organizations through money exchangers. Gallant further sent out a warning and said,
“Whoever finances terror, or maintains a financial relationship with terror operatives, must know that he is a target, just like anyone who directs terrorism.”
Crypto has emerged as an effective tool for terrorist groups, particularly those from countries like Iran, to evade the economic sanctions imposed on them by the United States.
Israel’s recent action of confiscating cryptocurrency utilized by terrorist groups isn’t the first one. In May, Israeli authorities seized about 190 Binance accounts suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Daesh since the beginning of 2021.
Source » watcher