The DOJ seizes millions in cryptocurrency from terrorist groups
The Justice Department has seized millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency from terrorist organizations.
ISIS and other groups openly solicited virtual currency donations because they mistakenly believed that the transactions would be anonymous.
U.S. authorities confiscated cryptocurrency associated with terrorism financing campaigns involving Hamas, al-Qaeda and ISIS. The total amount of crypto funding is in the millions of dollars. The Justice Department said each group used the cryptocurrency and social media to attract attention and raise funds for its terrorist campaigns.
For example, the military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, has been accused of posting calls for Bitcoin donations on its social networks and official websites. The organization claimed that crypto transactions were untraceable. Terrorists posted video instructions on how to donate anonymously, partly using unique Bitcoin addresses created for each individual transaction.
However, the donations were not anonymous: U.S. officials were able to access 150 cryptocurrency wallets that were used for money laundering. In addition, the authorities gained access to the management of one of the sites of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade and used it to trace individuals who were making donations.
The DOJ also said al-Qaeda and affiliated groups laundered bitcoins using Telegram channels and other social networking platforms to collect donations.
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