- Israel announced the recovery of a large amount of cryptocurrencies from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah.
- The agency disrupted the two organisations’ joint cryptocurrency-based terrorism financing infrastructure and seized cryptocurrencies worth a total of almost $1.7 million.
In a significant breakthrough, Israeli authorities have recently uncovered and seized $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency funds linked to Hezbollah’s financial network.
According to The Times of Israel, Israel has taken control of up to 40 bitcoin wallets connected to the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the terrorist group Hezbollah.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that this is “the first incident of this magnitude” carried out by Israel.
This discovery sheds light on the ever-evolving tactics employed by illicit organizations to finance their operations and underscores the critical role of cybersecurity and international cooperation in combating such threats.
Hezbollah has received the majority of its finance from Iran since its foundation, mostly from the Iran Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), frequently through Syrian middlemen.
According to information from this statement, some of that activity has changed to cryptocurrency, frequently according to a pattern where money is transferred through financial intermediaries to hawala services and OTC brokers before being sent to Hezbollah-controlled addresses at well-known exchanges.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant personally issued the directive to seize the relevant cryptocurrency wallets and transfer the funds to the Israeli government. The operation involved Israel’s intelligence agencies, including Mossad, military intelligence, and the police, as reported by The Associated Press.
Speaking at a conference organized by the Defense Ministry’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, Gallant stated that the seized funds were being utilized for “terrorism” purposes.
Gallant claimed that the Quds Force and Hezbollah use virtual currency to fund their armed actions. Due to their reputation for being difficult to track, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are preferred for illegal transactions. Without revealing a name or address, anyone may open a Bitcoin account and start receiving virtual money.
Iran, a regional rival of Israel, and other nations under American sanctions have attempted to develop their own cryptocurrencies in order to get around the financial limitations.
In 2023, Israel saw its second instance of confiscating cryptocurrency related to terrorism financing. Earlier in May, a report disclosed that Israeli authorities had seized 190 Binance accounts linked to Islamic terrorist organizations since 2021.
The confiscated Binance cryptocurrency accounts were associated with three Palestinian currency exchange firms that Israel has classified as “terrorist organizations.”