Treasury Sanctions Gaza-based Virtual Currency Exchange BuyCash in wake of Hamas Attacks
On October 18, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on ten key Hamas terrorist group members, operatives, and financial facilitators in Gaza and elsewhere including Sudan, Türkiye, Algeria, and Qatar.
This action targets members managing assets in a secret Hamas investment portfolio, a Qatar-based financial facilitator with close ties to the Iranian regime, a key Hamas commander, and Gaza-based virtual currency exchange Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company (BuyCash), its operator and an associated cryptocurrency address.
BuyCash is a remittance company specializing in transmitting payments through various services, including cryptocurrency. BuyCash has been operational since 2014 with a physical location and website. The BuyCash website claims to be a currency exchanger, money transfer service, and electronic bank.
In June 2021, Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terrorist Financing seized a number of virtual currency wallets in connection to a Hamas fundraising campaign, some of which were linked to the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades. One of the seized wallet addresses belongs to BuyCash.
In addition to involvement in Hamas fundraising, Buy Cash has also been used to transfer funds by affiliates in other terrorist groups. In September 2019, according to OFAC, Buy Cash’s Bitcoin wallet 19D1iGzDr7FyAdiy3ZZdxMd6ttHj1kj6WW received a Bitcoin transfer equivalent to over $2,000. The transfer was facilitated by a Türkiye-based money services business operator and al-Qa’ida affiliate. Additionally, in 2017 a Buy Cash account was registered by individuals involved in payment for procurement of large quantities of online infrastructure on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Ahmed M. M. Alaqad (Alaqad), who is based in Gaza, registered Buy Cash’s domain in July 2015. Alaqad has acted as Buy Cash’s representative and is the owner of Buy Cash financial exchange. Buy Cash and Alaqad are being designated for providing material support to Hamas.
According to OFAC, “Today’s designations are part of a continuous effort by the United States to root out Hamas’s sources of revenue in the West Bank and Gaza and across the region and is taken in close coordination with regional partners and allies. To date, Treasury has targeted nearly 1,000 individuals and entities connected to terrorism and terrorist financing by the Iranian regime and its proxies, including Hamas, Hizballah, and other Iran-aligned terrorist groups in the region.”
For more on Hamas’ use of cryptocurrency for fundraising read TRM’s report here.
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