update deskIsrael at War

Lawsuit: Hamas support even came up in ‘common banter’ at crypto company

"Binance and its affiliated companies for years knowingly and intentionally provided material support to Hamas and other vile terrorist organizations," an attorney for the plaintiffs said.

Illustrative photo of a judge and gavel. Credit: Zolnierek/Shutterstock.
Illustrative photo of a judge and gavel. Credit: Zolnierek/Shutterstock.

Binance, which bills itself as the “biggest bitcoin exchange and altcoin crypto exchange in the world by volume,” intentionally helped transfer money to the Hamas terror group over the course of more than five years, a new federal lawsuit alleges.

Per the complaint, which was filed on Feb. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Binance‘s contributions to funding Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack “cannot be overstated.”

“Defendants knowingly facilitated transfers of money to Hamas over the course of more than five years, and its chief executive officer, chief compliance officer, compliance personnel and rank-and-file employees knew that its operations were being used to fund Hamas, as well as other foreign terrorist organizations,” per the complaint.

“In fact, the facilitation of payments to Hamas was so ingrained at Binance that even common banter among its employees demonstrates defendants’ knowledge, both actual and constructive, that its infrastructure was being used for illegal payments and remittances to foreign terrorist organizations.”

The complaint, citing the U.S. Justice Department, notes that a Binance compliance staffer joked in February 2019 that the company should get a banner stating, “Is washing drug money too hard these days? Come to Binance, we got cake for you.”

As virtual currency exchanges allow customers to trade U.S. dollars for other currencies, including digital ones, essentially acting like banks, “they are legally required to conduct due diligence of their customers and have anti-money laundering checks in place,” per the complaint.

The National Jewish Advocacy Center, the Law Office of David I. Schoen, the firm Goldfeder & Terry and the nonprofit International Legal Forum brought the suit on behalf of survivors of and those affected by Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks.

“The defendants deliberately enriched themselves by catering to terrorists and their financiers, putting profit over people’s lives,” stated Mark Goldfeder, director of the NJAC. “Their culpability cannot be overstated. There is blood on their hands.”

Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, stated that Binance “was effectively helping underwrite the massacre, rape and atrocities of Oct. 7″ by “providing a platform for terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to fundraise.”

In November, Binance and its then-CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to money laundering, unlicensed transmission of money and violating sanctions, agreeing to pay $4.3 billion to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation.

“Binance became the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in part because of the crimes it committed,” stated Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general. “Now it is paying one of the largest corporate penalties in U.S. history.”

The Justice Department release didn’t mention Hamas, but the U.S. Treasury Department stated that Binance’s “violations include failure to implement programs to prevent and report suspicious transactions with terrorists, including Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”

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