US Treasury Sanctions Gaza-Based Crypto Operator Allegedly Tied to Hamas – The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury has imposed sanctions on a cryptocurrency operator allegedly linked to the terrorist group Hamas. According to the U.S. Treasury, Hamas, ISIS, and an al-Qaeda affiliate utilized the services of Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company for fund transfers.
On October 18, OFAC declared sanctions against Hamas operatives and financial facilitators in response to the organization’s attack on Israel. The entities added to OFAC’s list of specially designated nationals included a “Gaza-based virtual currency exchange and its operator” with a Bitcoin wallet address. According to the Treasury Department, the sanctions were aimed at “rooting out Hamas’s sources of revenue” following an Oct. 7 attack which resulted in the deaths of many Israelis.
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The exchange using digital currency, named Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company, is operated by Gaza resident Khan Yunis — Treasury alleged both the firm and Yunis were “linked to Hamas.” Ahmed M.M. Alaqad, the owner of the business, was also named in the sanctions. “We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yelln.
“That includes by imposing sanctions and coordinating with allies and partners to track, freeze, and seize any Hamas-related assets in their jurisdictions.” Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm, reported on October 18th that several terrorist groups, including Hamas, an al-Qaeda affiliate, and ISIS, have used a money transfer company to move over $25 million in BTC and Tether since 2015.
In response to a terrorist attack, Israel formally declared war against Hamas, leading to bombardments in Gaza, causing a humanitarian crisis. U.S. President Joe Biden was in Israel at the time, where officials agreed to allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza from Egypt. The U.S. Treasury frequently uses sanctions to weaken financial support for entities involved in terrorism and illicit activities, such as the recent sanctions against crypto wallets tied to China-based chemical manufacturers on October 3rd.