US Senator Calls for DOJ Action against Binance and Tether for Alleged Hamas Crypto Funding

US Senator Calls for DOJ Action against Binance and Tether for Alleged Hamas Crypto Funding

UTC by Chimamanda U. Martha · 3 min read
US Senator Calls for DOJ Action against Binance and Tether for Alleged Hamas Crypto Funding
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In response to the allegations, Tether emphasized its commitment to preventing the misuse of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities.

In a recent development, US Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) has called upon the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to take decisive action against major cryptocurrency entities, Binance and Tether, over their alleged involvement in illicit financing associated with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The call for action follows a contentious report titled “Hamas Militants Behind Israel Attack Raised Millions in Crypto” by the Wall Street Journal, which accused the two companies of being intermediaries in the reported illicit funding of Hamas.

US Lawmakers Urge DOJ to Investigate Binance and Tether

Senator Lummis, a prominent supporter of the crypto industry, underscored the gravity of the situation in a letter co-signed by Representative French Hill, Chair Subcommittee, House Financial Services.

The letter urged the DOJ to thoroughly investigate and potentially charge Binance and Tether for their roles in facilitating terrorism financing, emphasizing the need to curtail any support that could be aiding terrorist activities, particularly those directed towards Israel.

“We urge the Department of Justice to carefully evaluate the extent to which Binance and Tether are providing material support and resources to support terrorism through violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act. To that end, we strongly support swift action by the Department of Justice against Binance and Tether to choke off funding sources for the terrorists currently targeting Israel,” said Lummis and Hill in the letter.

In a post on X, Senator Lummis asked the public defender’s office to quickly finish its probe into the two companies and consider bringing criminal charges against the two companies. She further buttressed that crypto is not the enemy, but bad actors are.

Misinterpretation of Data

In its report, the Wall Street Journal purported a significant sum of over $130 million in crypto funds being raised for Hamas through Binance and Tether. However, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic disputed the claim, citing a misinterpretation of the data.

On October 25, the company published a blog article detailing all the fundraising conducted by the terrorist organization since 2019. According to the firm, there is “no evidence to support the assertion, referring to the WSJ report, that Hamas has received significant volumes of crypto donations” since the recent outbreak of violence against Israel on October 7.

The amounts raised “remain tiny”, compared to the $130 million reported by WSJ, Elliptic said.

Tether and Binance Freeze Accounts Linked to Hamas

In response to the allegations, Tether emphasized its commitment to preventing the misuse of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities. It also urged the media to fact-check and rectify any misrepresentations surrounding the issue.

Earlier this month, the stablecoin issuer and owner of USDT said it had frozen 32 crypto addresses associated with terrorism and warfare in Israel and Ukraine. According to the company, the 32 wallet addresses held USDT, amounting to $873,118.

Binance, on the other hand, helped the Israeli police to freeze accounts linked to the Hamas group.

Meanwhile, the letter by Senator Lummis and Representative Hill acknowledged the crucial role of the crypto industry in adhering to regulatory protocols and compliance standards to ensure the legitimacy and integrity of the market.

Several voices within the crypto community, including Nic Carter, a partner at Castle Island Ventures, and Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, have emphasized the need for accurate reporting and a nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in the crypto space.

Binance News, Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency News, News
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