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Terrorism Financing: Binance funnels funds to Hamas, ISIS, other terror groups –US Treasury

Photo Collage: DBInvesting

*Changpeng Zhao, Chief Executive Officer of the global cryptocurrency trading platform, has resigned his position under a settlement deal with the United States Department of Justice, after Binance alleged violation of anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and $4.3 billion fine slammed on it in the American country

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The United States (US) Treasury Department has said that Cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance was used by Hamas and other terror groups to funnel illegal funds.

The Department while explaining reasons for charging the firm with money laundering accusations, disclosed the global trading platform was accused of violating anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and a $4.3 billion fine was slapped on it.

Consequently, Changpeng Zhao, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, resigned under a settlement deal with the Department of Justice.

In a Seattle court, Zhao pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to step down immediately as its CEO.

Settlement deal with regulators

Under the deal, Binance will pay out $1.81 billion within a timeline of 15 months, followed by another $2.51 billion forfeiture as part of the deal, prosecutors told Reuters.

Additionally, Binance also reached a settlement with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Explaining the development in a statement issued Tuesday, November 21, 2023, Janet Yellen, Treasury Department Secretary, said that the trading platform was used to facilitate money to terror groups like Hamas, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Binance broke US anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and failed to report more than 100,000 suspicious transactions with organisations the US described as terrorist groups, including Hamas, al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, authorities said.

Binance had also failed to report over 100,000 suspicious transactions with organisations designated as terrorist groups by the US

“The violations include failure to implement programmes to prevent and report suspicious transactions with terrorists — including Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

It accused Binance of turning a “blind eye to its legal obligations in the pursuit of profit,” allowing ”money to flow to terrorists, cybercriminals, and child abusers through its platform.”

The US Treasury Department claimed that the cryptocurrency giant also failed to prevent and report transactions with “ransomware attackers, money launderers, and other criminals,” as well as trades between users in the US and in countries sanctioned by the US government, including Iran, North Korea and Syria, besides the Crimean peninsula, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

Binance was aware of the shady transactions

The Hamas transactions were first acknowledged in February 2019 by Binance’s then-chief compliance officer Samuel Lim, according to a Commodity Futures Trading Commission lawsuit filed in March against the crypto exchange.

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