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Israeli court approves seizure of all cryptocurrency in terrorism-linked wallets

Authorities had previously been allowed to seize only those digital assets used to directly finance terrorist activity

A logo for the bitcoin digital currency. Credit: Facebook.
A logo for the bitcoin digital currency. Credit: Facebook.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed on Sunday that the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court last week issued a ruling approving the government’s seizure of any and all cryptocurrency assets from digital wallets that have funded terrorism.

Israeli authorities had previously been allowed to seize only those digital assets used to directly finance terrorist activity, but not additional funds in the same wallets.

Since the court ruling, Israel has seized $33,500 from digital wallets that last year funneled cryptocurrency to Hamas, Gantz’s office said. Authorities in Dec. 2021 confiscated some $750,000 in cryptocurrency from those wallets.

Israel has blacklisted more than 150 digital wallets, and last week’s decision means that their funds can now be confiscated.

In February, Gantz signed a seizure order for tens of thousands of shekels in cryptocurrency from 12 digital accounts for violating terror-financing laws. At the time it was already the third seizure of cryptocurrency in 2022.

Some 30 of the digital wallets seized belonged to businesses that assisted the Al Mutahadun currency exchange company, owned by the Shamlach family of Gaza. Al Mutahadun is one of two companies designated in 2021 as terrorist organizations on the recommendation of the Israel Defense Ministry’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) for their role in funneling funds to Hamas.

In 2019, Israeli financial news site Globes reported that Hamas had started raising funds by accepting Bitcoin donations through the U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase.

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