Treasury imposes sanctions on Hamas-linked crypto exchange, financiers

The Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned two senior Hamas officials along with a Gaza Strip-based crypto exchange and its operators as well as six individuals who help manage the militant group’s investment portfolio across Gaza, Algeria, Sudan, Turkey and Qatar.

“The U.S. Treasury has a long history of effectively disrupting terror finance and we will not hesitate to use our tools against Hamas,” Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel.”

The sanctions against the group, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union, are designed to stem revenue from a portfolio of businesses that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Treasury. The action comes as President Joe Biden travels to Israel, where he showed support for the country’s military response to Hamas’s surprise attacks over the last week.

Crypto’s role in financing Hamas’ activity has emerged as a hot issue for lawmakers such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who on Tuesday sent a bipartisan letter to the White House and Treasury urging Biden to crack down following reports on Hamas’ use of digital assets.

“Hamas is one of the most heavily sanctioned entities in the world,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters Wednesday morning. “The Biden administration is committed to continuing to impose more costs on them and their funds.”

The Treasury action targets Musa Muhammad Salim Dudin, a West Bank-based member of Hamas’ investment team who allegedly obfuscated the transfer assets from a sanctioned Turkish investment firm, as well as Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair — a financier in Sudan who allegedly helped move money for the organization.

Also designated for sanctions were Amer Kamal Sharif Alshawa, Ahmed Sadu Jahleb, Aiman Ahmad Al-Duwaik and Walid Mohammed Mustafa Jadallah — whom Treasury alleges hold roles in Hamas-owned entities.

The government also targeted a Gaza-based crypto exchange called the Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company, along with its operator Ahmed M. M. Alaqad, for allegedly helping Hamas fundraise. Buy Cash was also linked to asset transfers involving al Qaeda affiliates and ISIS, according to Treasury.

Hamas operatives Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Dayim Nasrallah and Ayman Nofal — who was recently killed in an Israeli airstrike — were also among those sanctioned.

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