Two US Senators asked the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to take ”swift action” against Binance and Tether for aiding the militant group Hamas.
“We strongly support swift action by the Department of Justice against Binance and Tether to choke off sources of funding to the terrorists currently targeting Israel,” wrote Lummis and Arkansas representative French Hill in an Oct. 26 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Senators Want Binance ”Charging Decision”
They urged the DoJ to conclude its investigation into Binance and to ”reach a charging decision” that reflects its “level of culpability” in illicit activities.
When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy – bad actors are.
I sent a letter asking DOJ to finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether after reports they served as intermediaries for Hamas and engaged in illicit activities. pic.twitter.com/M3KGNFkpWc
— Senator Cynthia Lummis (@SenLummis) October 26, 2023
The letter cited an Oct. 16 report by the Financial Times that said Israel had ordered the closure of more than 100 Binance accounts associated with Hamas.
It also that Tether is knowingly facilitating violations of sanctions and the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to conduct adequate customer due diligence and screening ”despite being aware that its product is used to facilitate terrorism and other illicit activities.”
They referred to an Oct. 10 Wall Street Journal report that claimed Hamas and other terrorist organizations received millions of dollars in crypto donations since August 2021. However, they admitted that the figures provided in the WSJ article were “likely not accurate,” as highlighted in subsequent reports.
Tether Pushes Back
Tether has pushed back against the letter, saying it contains imprecise information. The stablecoin issuer said the letter painted “an unfair and skewed” image of Tether and the entire crypto industry.
“There is simply no evidence that Tether has violated sanctions laws or the Bank Secrecy Act through inadequate customer due diligence or screening practices,” Tether’s blog post read.
Tether Reinforces Stance Against Crypto’s Terrorist Utilization, Urges Governments to Fact Check Mainstream Media’s Misinterpretation of Data
— Tether (@Tether_to) October 26, 2023
The issue of crypto being used to help fund Hamas has triggered a heated debate. Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic recently said there was “no evidence” to show that Hamas obtained large volumes of crypto assets to aid in its attacks against Israel.
Elliptic noted that one pro-Hamas campaign had raised $21,000 since the October 7 attack, with most of these funds frozen. The amount is significantly lower than the $93 million of crypto donations that a WSJ article claimed Hamas and other terrorist groups have received.
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