Tel Aviv court allows Israel to seize crypto in over 150 blacklisted wallets

Tel Aviv court allows Israel to seize crypto in over 150 blacklisted wallets

By Charles Thuo - min read
  • The Israeli government had blacklisted more than 150 wallets for links to terror groups.
  • The Israeli government can now take custody of all the cryptocurrencies in these blacklisted wallets.
  • Previously, Israeli authorities could only seize digital assets with direct links to terrorist activity but not all the funds in the same wallets.

A Tel Aviv magistrate court has issued a ruling allowing the government of Israel to seize all cryptocurrencies found in digital wallets blacklisted for allegedly funding terrorist activities. The ruling allows the government to take custody of all the cryptocurrencies found in the over 150 digital wallets that had been previously blacklisted for links to terror groups.

According to a local Israeli media report, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz says that the ruling will allow the authorities to seize a further $33,500 from the digital wallets linked to the Islamist militia group Hamas in addition to the cryptocurrencies they had already seized. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by several countries including Israel, the US, the UK, and the European Union.

Prior to the ruling, the authorities could only seize those cryptocurrencies that were directly linked to terrorism but not all the crypto assets found in the specific wallets.

In December 2021, the Israeli government seized crypto assets worth about $750,000.

Hamas and cryptocurrencies

Hamas started appealing to its supporters to send funds using bitcoin (BTC) in 2019 to try and evade financial isolation and sanctions.

In July 2021, the defence minister signed an order authorizing security forces to take custody of crypto accounts linked to the militant wing of Hamas. At the time, the blacklisted accounts contained Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ripple (XRP), Binance Coin (BNB), Zcash (ZEC), and Litecoin (LTC) among other altcoins.

In February this year, another 30 crypto wallets from twelve crypto exchanges with ties to Hamas were seized by the Israeli authorities. The exact value of the crypto assets in these wallets was not made public.