A group of hackers calling itself SpiderZ on Tuesday claimed it managed to penetrate accounts of Qard al-Hasan, Hezbollah’s financial and banking arm, The Daily Star of Lebanon reported (Hezbollah’s banking arm hacked by cyber group).
SpiderZ claimed it hacked into the servers and cameras of Hezbollah’s financial association and collected sensitive information it is in the process of leaking to the public. So far, they have exposed passport copies, names of depositors including senior bank officials, and security footage of depositors waiting in line.
The Al-Qard Al-Hassan Association was established by Hezbollah and licensed by the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior in 1987. Today it has 32 branches around Lebanon, operating as a charity offering financial assistance to the Shiite population.
The term Qard al-Hasan means benevolent lending and is a form of an interest-free loan extended to people in need for a specific time period, at the end of which the face value of the loan is to be paid off. However, from the leaks it appears that although Al-Qard Al-Hassan is registered as a charity in Lebanon, it is run as a financial institution in every way, providing a variety of financial services to its clients. The association’s annual loans are around $500 million, with an annual profit of roughly $20 million, deposit reserves worth more than $300 million, and a stash of 15 tons of gold worth an estimated $500 million.
The Al-Qard Al-Hassan Association confirmed the hack to the Hezbollah-affiliated AlahedNews website, stressing that “this breach does not give the attackers the ability to act or move the accounts.”
A video posted by the SpiderZ group states that they have captured all of the Hezbollah bank’s data, adding that their findings confirm that Al-Qard Al-Hassan is not a charity but a money shelter for Hezbollah.
“Al-Qard Al-Hassan Association is no longer a secret. The association does not operate according to the international standards accepted in the financial market, which are designed to protect the people,” the SpiderZ announced, suggesting: “If you have a debt to pay to Al-Qard Al-Hassan, don’t pay it. Stop letting them embezzle you, and take out all your money from the bank before it turns into ink on a paper.”
The hackers also exposed local Lebanese banks working in cahoots with Qard Al-Hassan through accounts in different branches, such as Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), which back in 2019 was hit with US sanctioned for collaborating with Hezbollah. Other banks cited by the hackers as dealing with the Hezbollah affiliate are the Lebanese Canadian Bank, MEAB Bank, Lebanese Swiss Bank, Fenicia Bank, Société Générale Bank, Kuwait and the Arab World Bank, Credit Libanais Bank, Lebanon and the Gulf Bank, Byblos Bank, and Misr Lebanon Bank.
According to the financial intelligence service Double Cheque, “about 300,000 clients have financial-business ties with al-Qard al-Hassan—about 200,000 taking out loans, and about 100,000 depositing money. Given the nature of the association’s financial activity and its conduct as a financial institution in every sense, the clients who choose to continue managing their financial activity at al-Qard al-Hassan are endangering their money and assets, since the association does not operate according to the international standards accepted in the financial market, which are designed to protect the clients.”
Double Cheque continued:
The full details of Al-Qard al-Hassan clients, who deposited or borrowed money, were leaked. This means that the al-Qard al-Hassan Association is no longer secret, and can no longer be used as a covert financial shelter through which money can be concealed from the surroundings and the authorities in Lebanon, including the banks, the tax authorities, and enforcement elements in the country. The felonies carried out by the depositors using the “secrecy” the association provides to its members—such as tax evasion, and laundering of funds that originated in corruption and terror financing offenses—are now exposed to the enforcement authorities in Lebanon and the international enforcement agencies.
If your name or details appear on the leaked lists (link below), you will be investigated by enforcement authorities in Lebanon or other countries, and based on your function, you may also be of interest to the U.S. Treasury and Trade Department for your involvement in the association that was designated by the U.S. Treasury as an entity that aids terror funding (SDGT) in 2007, and activity you carried out through it.
Pulling your money and assets out of al-Qard al-Hassan can help you reduce your ties with the association and reduce the risk to you, your money, and your assets.
The hackers promised to leak even more information soon.