The Israeli government said Tuesday that it seized millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from accounts that had sent or received funds in alleged financing schemes for a powerful arm of the Iranian military and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he issued an order to seize the cryptocurrency wallets and turn over the funds to the Israeli government.
He described the “extensive” operation as Israel’s first to target the Hezbollah militant group and the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force — two organizations sworn to Israel’s destruction. Both have been designated by the United States and some other governments as terrorist organizations and locked out of the traditional global financial system.
It was a multi-agency effort, Gallant said, involving Israel’s Mossad spy agency, the Israeli military intelligence office, the Israeli police and others.
Israel has previously seized cryptocurrency belonging to the paramilitary arm of Gaza’s Hamas rulers as part of counterterrorism financing investigations.