Delhi man's Rs. 4.5cr crypto fraudulently transferred to Palestine's Hamas
A probe by the Delhi Police revealed cryptocurrency stolen from a businessman in 2019 was transferred to Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian militant organization Hamas. The value of the stolen cryptocurrency has since risen from around Rs. 30 lakh to more than Rs. 4 crore, as per reports. The police had carried out a five-month-long investigation into the case.
- The probe findings come amid growing calls to regulate cryptocurrency and related transactions in India.
- Cryptocurrency is notably a form of digital currency, which is relatively difficult to trace and offers some anonymity to its users.
- Presently, there is no law regulating cryptocurrency trading in India, though setting up a cryptocurrency exchange and trading it is legal in the country.
In 2019, a Delhi-based businessman had filed a complaint at the Paschim Vihar Police station. The complainant alleged his Bitcoins, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrency units worth Rs. 30.6 lakh were fraudulently transferred to some unknown accounts. The currency reportedly included 6.7 Bitcoins and 9.79 Ethereum. The case was later handed over to the Cyber Crime Unit, Special Cell, Delhi.
During the course of investigation, several startling facts came to light. Police said the stolen cryptocurrencies were routed through various private e-wallets while the Bitcoins had been transferred to the e-wallets of Al-Qassam Brigades. Reportedly, the rest of the amount was sent to five other e-wallets. Those accounts are being operated from the city of Giza in Egypt and Ramallah in Palestine.
"The cryptocurrencies were routed through various wallets and landed in the suspected wallets. We discovered that one of the wallets, that belongs to the Palestinian origination, has been seized by Israeli authorities for counter-terror financing," KPS Malhotra, DCP (Cyber Cell), reportedly said.
Police said some of the suspected accounts were used for financing terror operations while the others were used for child pornography. The Delhi Police is now taking up the matter with the authorities in Palestine and Israel, according to a report by The Times of India. Further, the probe report will be shared with officials in the Union Ministries of Home and External Affairs.