Israel has seized around 190 accounts at cryptocurrency exchange Binance since 2021 with alleged ties to terrorist groups, including Islamic State, Reuters reported, citing official documents from Israeli authorities.

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Fast facts

  • Two cryptocurrency accounts at Binance reportedly had ties with Islamic State, a jihadist militant group that once seized territory in Syria and Iraq throughout 2013 and 2014, with dozens of others linked to the Islamist Hamas group, Reuters said.
  • The seizure of the two accounts in January was “necessary to thwart the activity of the terrorist organization Islamic State,” the Israeli government’s counter-terrorist unit said in the document.
  • In response to the Reuters article, Binance said in a blog post on Friday that the news agency “deliberately” left out critical facts to “fit their narrative.”
  • “An often overlooked fact (or perhaps in this case, deliberately ignored) is that it’s not possible for a crypto exchange (or anyone) to block or reverse a digital asset deposit once a transaction has been verified on the blockchain,” Binance said. “When we learn of bad behavior, we intervene and take appropriate action, including freezing funds and working with law enforcement to support investigations.”
  • Binance added that bad actors don’t register accounts under the names of their criminal enterprises. “This is why our team collaborates with law enforcement, and leverages information that is only available to them in order to identify individuals operating accounts for illicit organizations.”
  • The world’s largest crypto exchange has been put under the spotlight over the past year for its allegedly weak money laundering controls. In a December 2022 report, Reuters alleged that Binance had processed more than US$10 billion in payments for those attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions.
  • Binance said in the blog post that it currently has over 750 employees working on compliance, and so far this year has helped law enforcement to freeze or seize assets worth over US$1 billion.

See related article: Binance says it built 700-member compliance team to handle crypto crime, legal enquiries