Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Tuesday at the third annual crypto conference in Tel Aviv that Israel has seized millions of dollars in digital currency intended to fund terrorist activity, from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force and Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.
Gallant told the conference, hosted by the Defense Ministry’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF),that a terrorist network is being used to launder millions of dollars’ worth of digital currencies in service of Iran’s terrorist activities.
The minister revealed an unprecedented operation that he said he approved and launched several weeks ago to identify and confiscate the terrorist funds laundered by proxy groups supported by Iran.
“Since its establishment, Israel has faced complex security threats. Over the years, as technology advanced and developed, so did the threats, which changed and evolved,” Gallant said.
“In addition to our fight against terror organizations and their proxies, we are now also tasked with identifying and cutting off the resources intended for terrorism.
“This is not a simple mission, and it only becomes more complex once we deal with digital currencies. Anyone who finances terrorism and/or maintains financial ties with the perpetrators of terror must know that they too, will become targets,” he warned.
“Over the past few months, the NBCTF in the ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the Mossad, Intelligence Directorate of the IDF, the police, and additional institutions, have developed new capabilities, which have enabled significant achievements in this domain.
“Since the beginning of this year, Hezbollah, Quds Force and Syrian operatives have used digital currencies to receive funds from third parties, via illegal transactions.”
This is the first operation of its kind and scale, Gallant noted, saying that Israel has set a precedent in exposing the source of terror funding via digital currencies and thwarting the transfer of millions of dollars to terrorists.
“By virtue of my authority as Minister of Defense, I issued an order that enabled the confiscation of said funds, as well as their transfer to the State of Israel. In doing so, we have effectively cut off the flow of terror funds via this channel,” Gallant said.
“We are again being shown Iranian efforts to sponsor and disseminate terrorism against Israel and against the international community, both directly and indirectly via its proxies,” he added.