Families of victims of the Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israel have filed a lawsuit against cryptocurrency exchange Binance over its alleged role in facilitating the transfer of funds utilized by terrorist groups.
Court Filings Submitted Against Binance, Iran, and Syria
A Jan 31 court filing shows the plaintiffs, a group of families of victims of the Hamas attack, seeking damages against Binance and other defendants under United States laws.
Per the filing in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York, at least 30 United States citizens were murdered out of 1,200 fatalities and at least 10 were taken hostage after the attack.
They asserted that Binance provided substantial assistance to Hamas, Iran, and Syria as a result of their platform being used by the groups as a funding mechanism coupled with issues based on concealing information from regulators.
“Defendant Binance processed numerous transactions associated with Hamas and related Palestinian terrorist groups between 2017 and mid-2023, providing a clandestine financing tool that Binance deliberately hid from U.S. regulators.”
The plaintiffs drew the court’s attention to the settlement between Binance and the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the former’s noncompliance to regulatory practices in the country which led to the resignation of its former CEO Changpeng Zhao.
Furthermore, they alleged that Binance’s failure to implement proper Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies attracted bad actors to the platform. In turn, this means the exchange could facilitate transactions of terror groups.
The plaintiffs collectively sue Binance, Iran, and Syria and claim damages under the United States Anti-Terrorism Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) for their contributions to the Oct 7 attack.
Authorities Scrutinize Crypto Role in Terror Attacks
The Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israel opened up several issues around cryptocurrencies and global financing following the release of several reports of bad actors turning to blockchain to settle transactions.
On Oct 10, the Wall Street Journal reported that terror groups received about $93 million in crypto between August 2021 and June 2023 sparking more criticism of the industry’s compliance.
Although Chainalysis revealed that the figures claimed are overstated, lawmakers and authorities have pushed laws to curb the trend with some suggesting models similar to those deployed in traditional finance.
Chainalysis Highlights Flawed Analysis in Assessing Crypto’s Role in Terror Financing
— Cryptonews.com (@cryptonews) October 19, 2023
Following the attacks, Israeli authorities froze over 100 accounts linked to Hamas as more regulatory pressure mounts in the sector.
United States lawmakers have also introduced an anti-crypto terror financing bill aimed at preventing a recurrence of past events. The bill limits accounts linked to terror groups and places severe measures on all stakeholders.
In a report published by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), digital assets were flagged for being used to avoid government sanctions, a claim Sen Elizabeth Warren pushed while stating that the crypto industry must adopt tighter regulations.
A new @USGAO report confirms that rogue nations are using crypto to dodge sanctions and undermine our national security.
It’s time for crypto to follow the same anti-money laundering rules as everyone else. I’ve got a bill to make it happen. https://t.co/TUX2sJ8HR0
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 21, 2024
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