US Lawmakers Urge DOJ to Consider Criminal Charges Against Binance and Tether

Two U.S. lawmakers have asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether, alleging that the two crypto platforms were used to fund Hamas. “We urge the Department of Justice to carefully evaluate the extent to which Binance and Tether are providing material support and resources to support terrorism through violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act,” the lawmakers stressed.

Lawmakers Concerned About Binance and Tether

The office of U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) announced Thursday that the senator from Wyoming and U.S. Representative French Hill (R-AR) have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) “to swiftly investigate Binance and Tether.” They alleged that the two cryptocurrency platforms have been used to fund Hamas and “have a history of allowing illegal activity to occur.”

Lummis is a member of the Senate Banking Committee while Hill is the chair of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Assets. Senator Lummis highlighted “the need for federal investigators to crack down on bad actors in the crypto asset space after reports surfaced that showed Hamas used crypto assets to fund their war in Israel,” the announcement describes. She wrote on social media platform X on Thursday:

When it comes to illicit finance, crypto is not the enemy — bad actors are. I sent a letter asking DOJ to finish its investigation and consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether after reports they served as intermediaries for Hamas and engaged in illicit activities.

“We write to you in light of shocking reports that unregulated, centralized crypto asset intermediaries based outside the United States have facilitated significant illicit finance activity over the last two years, including providing significant terrorism financing for Hamas’ malevolent attack,” the letter begins. The lawmakers added: “We urge you and the Department of Justice to reach a charging decision on Binance that reflects their level of culpability and expeditiously conclude your investigations into the ongoing illicit activities involving Tether.”

The letter cites an article published by the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 10 stating that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah have received crypto funding since August 2021. While acknowledging that the level of funding reported in the article is “likely not accurate,” the lawmakers said: “We believe it is nonetheless imperative that the Department of Justice hold bad actors accountable if they are shown to facilitate illicit activity.”

This week, blockchain analytics firm Elliptic clarified that there is no evidence to support the assertion that Hamas has received significant volumes of crypto donations. The firm added that the data it provided “has been misinterpreted.”

The letter proceeds to describe as an unregulated crypto platform based in Seychelles and the Cayman Islands that has “historically been linked to illicit activity,” noting that the firm is “purportedly the subject of a current Department of Justice investigation.”

Moreover, Lummis and Hill stated: “It is well-known that Tether is knowingly facilitating violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to conduct adequate customer due diligence and screenings despite being aware that its product is used to facilitate terrorism and other illicit activities.”

The lawmakers concluded, “We urge the Department of Justice to carefully evaluate the extent to which Binance and Tether are providing material support and resources to support terrorism through violations of applicable sanctions laws and the Bank Secrecy Act,” adding:

To that end, we strongly support swift action by the Department of Justice against Binance and Tether to choke off sources of funding to the terrorists currently targeting Israel.

What do you think about the lawmakers asking the DOJ to consider criminal charges against Binance and Tether? Let us know in the comments section below.

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