The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court has reportedly issued a ruling allowing the Israeli government to seize all of the crypto from more than 150 digital wallets it has included to allegedly fund terrorist groups.
According to a Dec. 18 local Israeli media report, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said a Dec. 15 court ruling has already allowed authorities to seize another $33,500 from digital wallets linked to the Islamist militant group.
Before the court ruling, Israeli authorities were only legally allowed to seize digital assets directly linked to terrorist activity, but not additional funds in the same wallets. In December 2021, the authorities confiscated 750 thousand dollars from wallets.
Hamas, the de facto ruling authority in the Palestinian Gaza Strip since 2007, is classified in whole or in part as a terrorist organization by several countries and international alliances, including the United States, the European Union, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
Beginning in January 2019, Hamas began asking its supporters to send funds via Bitcoin (BTC) as a way to combat sanctions and financial isolation.
Gantz signed an order on July 9, 2021, authorizing security forces to seize crypto accounts believed to be linked to the militant wing of Hamas.
Related to: Israel’s Chief Economist Makes Proposals for Crypto Regulation
Authorities discovered at the time that the accounts contained Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), XRP (XRP), Binance Coin (BNB), Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin (LTC) and other altcoins.
In February, Israeli authorities also seized 30 crypto wallets from 12 exchange accounts linked to Hamas.
The exact value of the seized crypto assets has not been publicly disclosed.
Crypto has been shown to play a relatively minor role in fundraising for terrorist groups. In early 2022, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis determined that only a small fraction of crypto funds are used in criminal activities.