U.S. Justice Department Seizes Bitcoin Worth Millions From Militant Groups Like ISIS
On Thursday, August 13, the U.S. Justice Department said that they have seized the largest amount in cryptocurrencies so far. As per the reports, the department has seized nearly 300 at four crypto platforms belonging to militant groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida.
The details about the holdings of the cryptocurrency haven’t been made public yet. As per the report from the DoJ, the militant groups gathered these funds through social media platforms and systematic campaigns designed to raise money from across the globe.
Besides, the terror groups are also reported to have carried out a series of scams and money laundering through messaging app Telegram and other channels. The large scaled operation involved participation of different security agencies like the FBI, the Justice Department, Homeland Security.
Addressing the media, Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said: “Without funding, you cannot have these operations conducted. The focus here was a very proactive effort to target these organizations in a very wide-scale manner.”
Peer-to-peer cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have transformed the way we make cross-border payments and settlement. However, time-and-again these cryptocurrencies have been used for illicit activities and terror funding since they are difficult to trace. These bad actors have brought a bad image to the overall crypto industry.
“This action shows that law enforcement remains a step ahead of them,” said Demers. The law enforcement officials said that they seized accounts with a history of to-and-fro accounts operated by the al-Qassam Brigades.
Speaking about this matter, Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, said: "Terrorist networks have adapted to technology, conducting complex financial transactions in the digital world, including through cryptocurrencies. IRS-CI special agents in the DC cybercrimes unit work diligently to unravel these financial networks. Today's actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to holding malign actors accountable for their crimes.”
The law enforcement agencies have been able to trace the donations by seizing 150 accounts that laundered money. Besides, they have also executed search warrants for U.S.-based individuals who donated in the campaign.