| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Israel seized Binance crypto accounts to ‘thwart’ Islamic State, document shows

Since 2021, Israel has seized approximately 190 crypto accounts at Binance, including two it claims are linked to the Islamic State and dozens more it claims are owned by Palestinian firms linked to the Islamist Hamas group, according to documents released by the country’s counter-terrorism authorities.

According to one of the documents on the NBCTF’s website, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) confiscated two Binance accounts and their contents on January 12. The confiscation was intended to “thwart the activity” of the Islamic State and “impair its ability to further its goals,” according to the NBCTF’s website.

The NBCTF document, which has not been previously reported, did not give any details on the value of the crypto seized, nor how the accounts were connected to Islamic State.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volumes, did not respond to Reuters’ calls and emails seeking comment.

Israel’s defense ministry, which is responsible for the NBCTF, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Under Israeli law, the country’s defense minister can order the seizure and confiscation of assets that the ministry deems related to terrorism.

Regulators globally have long called for tighter controls on crypto exchanges to prevent illegal activities, from money laundering to the financing of terrorism. The seizures by Israel’s NBCTF highlight how governments are targeting crypto companies in their efforts to prevent illegal activity.

Binance, founded in 2017 by CEO Changpeng Zhao, says on its website it reviews information requests from governments and law enforcement agencies on a case-by-case basis, disclosing information as legally required.

Binance has also said it checks users for connections to terrorism and has “continued to invest tremendous resources to enhance its compliance program,” it told U.S. senators in March in response to their requests for information on Binance’s regulatory compliance and finances.

  • Reuters