Former Hamas hostages sue Binance for “facilitating” October attack

An American mother who was taken hostage by Hamas in Gaza and the relatives of two men killed following the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attack, sued crypto giant Binance for allegedly facilitating the violence.

Judith Raanan, who was released with her daughter on Oct. 20, and relatives of Itay Glisko and Dr. Daniel Levi Ludmir, who were murdered by Hamas, filed the lawsuit against the digital assets exchange, as well as Iran and Syria, in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday.

It appears to be the first civil case in what is expected to be a wave of litigation targeting Hamas and its networks after the terrorist organization’s attack and mass kidnapping that sparked an ongoing war with Israel.

The lawsuit takes aim at Binance for allowing Hamas to trade on its platform.

The allegation surfaced following a regulatory and criminal investigation into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange that came to a head last year.

Binance pleaded guilty to violating sanctions and anti-money laundering laws that allowed groups like Hamas to circumvent US banking regulations.

The exchange is paying a criminal fine of $1.8 billion and forfeiting $2.5 billion while former Binance chief executive officer Chanpeng Zhao is awaiting sentence for violating banking laws.

Officials at Binance didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

A lawyer for Raanan and the families, Robert Seiden, said he was confident the victims were entitled “to recover substantial damages” under US law, including the anti-terrorism act.

“We have been working on this lawsuit for weeks and believe that anyone who aids terrorism should be held accountable,” he said in a statement.

According to claims made by the government in the Binance case, al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, used Bitcoin transactions to raise money for the Palestinian resistance.

At least 1.1 million transactions valued at $899 million were conducted by people living in Iran, in violation of US sanctions, the company admitted.

The assistance Binance provided to Hamas helped finance the violent attacks and recruit individuals to carry out those attacks, the complaint filed on Wednesday states.

Iran, Syria

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs also allege Iran emerged as “the principal backer of Hamas terrorism,” increasing funding and the supply of weapons to the group in recent years.

“Iran consistently and continuously provided funding to Hamas in the amount of a hundred million U.S. dollars each year for the purpose of allowing Hamas to buy weapons and pay its terrorist fighters and otherwise carry out its terrorist operations,” the complaint states.

Similarly, the plaintiffs argue, Syria was one of the “cradles of Hamas terrorism” and contributed to the group’s military arsenal in the lead up to Oct. 7. The complaint references press reports, publicly-available research and documents filed in related court cases.

Raanan, the Glisko family and Ludmir’s uncle, Jeffrey Ludmir, are suing Binance for aiding and abetting and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages against Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism.

Raanan’s daughter, Natalie, who was held captive for two weeks in Gaza, and Raanan’s ex-husband, are also named as plaintiffs.

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Former Hamas hostages sue Binance for “facilitating” October attack