A recent news update captured by The Times of Israel newspaper revealed that on Tuesday, the Israeli government seized over 40 crypto wallets owned by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), commonly known as Quds Force, and Hezbollah.
A subsequent report from the defense minister in Israel, Yoav Gallant, revealed that the June 27 case was the first incident to be undertaken in the region.
Israeli Athority Takes Legal Action Against Terror Groups
Speaking at the ministry’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) conference, Gallant confirmed that the law enforcement units completed an operation to identify the different sources financing terror activities using digital assets. The minister noted that since January, most terror groups, including Hezbollah, Quds Forces, and illicit Syrian groups, have been utilizing crypto to fund their unlawful activities.
After reviewing the report issued by Israeli NBCTF, Gallant observed that most of the terror groups received funding from a third party. He realized that the funds were moved directly to the illicit groups through money exchange platforms.
At the conference, Gallant explained that the NBCTF operation utilized revolutionary tools, which the Mossad spy agency developed in partnership with the Israel Police, the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, and other enforcement units. Besides utilizing the public systems, Gallant mentioned that the operation used Chainalysis analytic tools.
Separate from this, the famous blockchain forensic company Chainanalysis revealed that the assets confiscated by NBCTF constituted measurable amounts of Tether (USDT) that were transferred to the terrorist groups through the Tron network.
Chainanalysis Supports Firms to Combat Terrorist
Furthermore, the probing team from Chainalysis noted that Hezbollah’s funds were from Iran and transacted through a Syrian third party. The forensic company discovered that most of the funds received by illicit groups were later converted to cryptocurrency.
The investigators also noted that the funds were transferred through multiple agencies. One of the noticeable patterns the investigators witnessed was that the funds received by financial facilitators were transferred to Hawala services and OTC brokers. Later the third-party agencies moved the funds to Hezbollah’s respective addresses.
In a blog post, the Chainalysis experts considered the NBCTF legal action important. The blockchain-oriented forensic firm’s findings illustrated terrorism funding using crypto assets which differs from donation campaigns conducted on social media. They underscored that in the Hezbollah and Qud Force case, bad actors used crypto to finance terrorist groups.
In addition, the Chainalysis team confessed that the fight against the use of cryptocurrency to fund terror groups was not yet over. Irrespective of this, the Chainalysis team recognized that Hamas, a Palestinian militant group threatening the national security of the US and the UK, agreed to discontinue its crypto donation program following a law enforcement action.
Subsequently, the Al-Qassam Brigades (AQB) replicated its parent company Hamas in April after winding down its crypto donation program. It was observed that the AQB group has been utilizing crypto funding to bypass the international sanction in the region.
In an earlier report, the Israeli defense ministry had announced plans to seize crypto wallets partially owned by Hamas. In February, the Israeli law enforcers seized a measurable amount of crypto assets to fund Hamas.
Before this, the Israeli authorities had confiscated assets worth $7.7 million in Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and USDT linked to the Hamas group. Besides the Hamas group, it was reported that Hezbollah the group has been acting against Israeli regulations. It was reported that Hezbollah comprised a Lebanese political party and military organization formed in 1980.