Last week, the Wall Street Journal inaccurately reported that Hamas and affiliated terror groups had received tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency, which was allegedly being used to support the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
However, blockchain analytics firms, such as Chainalysis and Elliptic, have contradicted this claim, suggesting that the actual funding amount was more likely in the range of a few thousand dollars.
Despite these clarifications, the Wall Street Journal has not issued a correction. The US lawmakers have increased scrutiny on Tether and Binance in relation to these developments.
Tether Sets The Record Straight
In a press release, Tether called out the mainstream media and said there is simply no evidence that it has violated Sanctions laws or the Bank Secrecy Act through inadequate customer due diligence or screening practices.
The stablecoin issuer has revealed “proactively” collaborating with 31 law enforcement agencies across 19 jurisdictions to tackle malicious activities.
Tether said its active measures have resulted in freezing a cumulative total of $835 million in assets connected to unlawful activities, primarily hacks of crypto exchanges and DeFi platforms.
To address concerns regarding the Middle East, Tether, in collaboration with the NBCTF in Israel, successfully froze 32 addresses associated with illegal activities, safeguarding a total of $873 million.
Although this amount is relatively small when compared to traditional financial systems, the stablecoin issuer ensured that it continues to maintain a vigilant stance and has executed all essential measures to combat such illicit conduct.
Tether has also claimed to have cooperated with law enforcement agencies in cases related to both Ukraine and Israel.
The USDT issuer urged the US government to “fact check mainstream media’s misinterpretation of data.”
Criminal charges for Binance and Tether
Tether’s statement comes after the US lawmakers, led by Senator Cynthia Lummis, called for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and stablecoin issuer. The request is based on the flawed WSJ report.
The letter reads,
“We believe that it’s imperative that the Department of Justice hold bad actors accountable if they are shown to facilitate illicit activity. Binance, notably, is an unregulated crypto asset exchange based in the Seychelles and Cayman Islands. Binance has historically been linked to illicit activity and is purportedly the subject of a current Department of Justice investigation.”