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U.S. Sanctions Hezbollah Crypto Operator Linked to Terrorist Funding

Tawfiq Muhammad Said Al-Law, a hawala operator involved in Hezbollah crypto funding, has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the federal agency announced Tuesday.

Hezbollah Crypto Operator Sanctioned By OFAC

According to Tuesday press release from OFAC, Al-Law is accused of “having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hezbollah.”

Treasury has sanctioned 6 entities, 2 people and 2 tankers across 5 countries who are involved in the financing or shipping of oil for the IRGC-QF, the Houthis, and Hizballah – another step in the campaign to disrupt IRGC-QF support to terrorist proxies. https://t.co/hSFydBbEXu

— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) March 26, 2024

The U.S. claims Al-Law is responsible for providing digital wallets to Hezbollah related to commodities sales benefitting Quds Force, a branch of the terrorist organization Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dedicated to “cultivating and supporting terrorist groups abroad.”

The Hezbollah crypto operator also stands accused of conducting cryptocurrency transfers for the Qatirji Company, a trucking business known for shipping weapons from Iraq to Syria, run by the OFAC-designated Muhammad al-Qatirji.

“Treasury remains resolute in our commitment to deploy our tools against those who seek to fund the illicit activities of the IRGC-QF and its destabilizing proxy groups,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to take action to disrupt the abuse of international energy markets to facilitate terrorist activities.”

Chainalysis Sheds Light on Hezbollah Crypto Funding Patterns

According to blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, the Lebanon-based Al-Law was first identified in June by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) following their first seizure of cryptocurrency from the terrorist organization, which totaled over $1.7 million in June 2023.

OFAC has now sanctioned Tawfiq Muhammad Said Al-Law, who was previously identified in a seizure order from Israel’s NBCTF for his role in helping Hezbollah build crypto funding infrastructure. We’ve updated our original blog with the new info. https://t.co/SHrqi9M6AK https://t.co/fIB9vE6OWz

— Chainalysis (@chainalysis) March 26, 2024

Chainalysis alleges Hezbollah receives part of its funding from cryptocurrencies, often following a pattern where funds “are moved first from financial facilitators to hawala services and OTC brokers, and then to Hezbollah-controlled addresses at mainstream exchanges.”

The terrorist organization, which was founded in Lebanon in 1982, is largely funded by Iran and known for its deep opposition to Israel.

Politician Press For Legislation on Terrorists’ Cryptocurrency Funding

Meanwhile, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is probing donations totaling $165 million received by Palestinian militant group, Hamas, in the leadup to its deadly October 7 attack on Israel.

Several American lawmakers have called for increased legislation on digital assets, with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) receiving bipartisan support for her bill, the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, in hopes of preventing terrorist organizations from obtaining cryptocurrency funding.

“(Crypto) is helping rogue states,” Warren said in a hearing last week. “It’s helping terrorists. It’s helping criminal organizations fund their operations on a scale like we have never seen before.”

The U.S. is currently offering a $10 million reward for information that would disrupt Hezbollah’s financial system through its Rewards for Justice Program.

As the fight against terrorist funding continues, the spotlight on Hezbollah crypto operations and the need for stronger regulations in the cryptocurrency space grows ever more pressing.

The post U.S. Sanctions Hezbollah Crypto Operator Linked to Terrorist Funding appeared first on Cryptonews.

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