In a decisive response to the recent terrorist attack on Israel, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated ten individuals and entities linked to the Hamas terrorist organization. This action, aimed at crippling the financial structures supporting Hamas, encompasses individuals and operations not only in the Gaza Strip but extends to Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar.
The sanctions zero in on various facets of Hamas’s financial network. Among those designated are individuals managing a clandestine Hamas investment portfolio, a Qatar-based facilitator with close Iranian affiliations, a senior Hamas commander, and a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange along with its operator. These sanctions build on previous actions dating back to May 2022, targeting officials and companies entangled in Hamas’s concealed global investment portfolio. The current designations are emblematic of a broader US strategy to dismantle the revenue streams fueling Hamas’s activities in the West Bank, Gaza, and beyond, closely coordinated with regional allies.
Hamas’s global financial operations, veiled as legitimate businesses, have purportedly amassed revenue in hundreds of millions, with investments spanning several countries including Sudan, Algeria, Türkiye, and the United Arab Emirates. The United States seeks to expose and freeze these assets to curtail Hamas’s ability to finance its operations.
Key Individuals and Entities
Highlighted among those sanctioned are Musa Muhammad Salim Dudin, a West Bank-based Hamas official, and Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair, a Sudan-based financier who managed several companies within Hamas’s investment portfolio. In Türkiye and Algeria, Amer Kamal Sharif Alshawa, Ahmed Sadu Jahleb, Aiman Ahmad Al-Duwaik, and Walid Mohammed Mustafa Jadallah were identified as part of Hamas’s investment network, with various roles in supporting the terrorist organization’s financial infrastructure.
Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Dayim Nasrallah and Ayman Nofal, based in Qatar and Gaza respectively, were also designated for their significant roles within Hamas. The actions further extended to Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company, a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange, and its owner Ahmed M. M. Alaqad, for their material support to Hamas.
Virtual Currency Concerns
OFAC’s action underscores the evolving challenge posed by virtual currencies in financing terrorism. The seizure of virtual currency wallets linked to Hamas in 2021 by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terrorist Financing serves as a precursor to the concerns echoed in these sanctions. The designation of Buy Cash, involved in virtual currency transactions including Bitcoin, highlights a nuanced dimension of terror financing that demands international attention and action.
The ramifications of these sanctions are extensive. They mandate the freezing of all property and interests in the US or under US persons’ control belonging to the designated individuals and entities. Additionally, they underscore the risks financial institutions and other entities might face if found engaging in transactions with the designated persons, thereby reinforcing the robustness and the dynamic enforcement landscape of the US sanctions regime.
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This article was originally reported on Blockchain News.