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October 7 Victims Sue Cryptocurrency Company for Providing Support to Hamas and Palestinian Terrorists

Cryptocurrency platform Binance has been sued by victims of the October 7 massacre for facilitating Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad funding and financial transactions, according to a filing to the District Court for the Middle District of Alabama Northern Division on Monday.

The nine plaintiffs sought damages from Binance, its affiliates, subsidiaries, and CEO Changpeng Zhao under the Antiterrorism Act and Alien Tort Statute for aiding, abetting, and knowingly providing material support and resources to the two US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

The largest virtual currency exchange “knowingly and intentionally provided material support to Hamas and other vile terrorist organizations by facilitating their movement of funds,” said David Schoen, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

Binance “used sophisticated manipulations to conceal the terrorists’ transactions,” he said. “Our federal government secured criminal convictions for the company and its CEO, but now Binance must be held directly accountable to its victims.”

Last November, Binance settled with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and an IRS criminal investigation for violations of US anti-money-laundering laws and sanctions.

In what the US Treasury called the largest settlement in history, Binance would have to pay penalties of $3.4 billion to FinCEN and $968 million to OFAC for failing to prevent and report suspicious transactions with terrorist organizations, including Hamas’s Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and facilitating cryptocurrency trades between US users and Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine.

“Binance turned a blind eye to its legal obligations in the pursuit of profit,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in November. “Its willful failures allowed money to flow to terrorists, cyber-criminals, and child abusers through its platform.”

According to a 2021 Coindesk analysis, Hamas received up to $100,000 in bitcoin since the beginning of 2021, and the transactions increased during May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Ben Schlager, senior counsel at Goldfeder & Terry, said: “Illicit remittances knowingly facilitated by Binance provided the necessary material support, military and tactical enablement and acquisition capacity necessary for Hamas to train for and to carry out terrorist activities, including the complex, multi-pronged and highly sophisticated attack against civilians in Israel on October 7.”

Arsen Ostrovsky, attorney and CEO of the International Legal Forum, which is working with the National Jewish Advocacy Center to aid the victims in the case, said Binance’s platform had helped the terrorist organizations fund-raise for atrocities.

American-Israeli plaintiff Noach Newman’s brother was killed during the Hamas attack on the Supernova music festival, an event that several other plaintiffs, including American David Bromberg, survived and were seeking damages for the suffering and trauma that they endured.

Israeli Lishay Lavi’s husband, Omri Miran, was kidnapped at the couple’s Nahal Oz home. Other plaintiffs, including Hagar Almog, were forced to evacuate and had their lives upended by the pogrom.