The United States along with some Middle Eastern nations are stepping up efforts to target a “secret” Hamas investment portfolio government officials believe to be worth up to $1 billion.
To target the Hamas investment portfolio, a US official said Tuesday the Treasury Department is working with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Following the Hamas terror attacks on Israel, US and Saudi officials convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Riyadh of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, which includes the United States and the GCC nations. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in November.
The US official said there has been a redoubling of efforts since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel to use the TFTC, which was created in 2017, to go after Hamas, Hezbollah and other Iranian-aligned militant groups, including by sharing relevant, timely and actionable information.
Last week, Treasury leveled sanctions on individuals that officials say are managing assets in a “secret” Hamas investment portfolio likely valued at between $400 million and $1 billion, according to a US official. The official added that the portfolio is generating significant amounts of revenue for Hamas.
Treasury has said the global portfolio of investments includes companies operating “under the guise of legitimate businesses” in Sudan, Algeria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and other nations.
“We cannot tolerate a world in which Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ fundraisers live and operate with impunity, abusing the financial system, to sustain their terror.” Brian Nelson, Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said during prepared remarks at the emergency TFTC meeting.
Nelson urged the Gulf nations to share more information on the parts of the Hamas financial ecosystem “vulnerable to disruption” and called on member countries to take action.
“From our perspective, not acting against Hamas and its terrorism is a disservice to the Palestinian people,” Nelson said. “From a financial standpoint, we can clearly see that Hamas has exacerbated economic hardships for decades in the Gaza strip by diverting humanitarian assistance to support its campaign of terror, and we must publicly condemn these actions.”
A UAE official told CNN on Wednesday the Gulf nation supports global efforts to fight money laundering and terror financing.
“The UAE is committed to combatting illegal financial activities such as money laundering and financing of terrorism,” the official said in a statement. “The country’s policies and strategies detect and deter financial crimes and prevent the use of its lands as a transit route or to transfer funds resulting from any criminal activity.”
In another step aimed at disrupting Hamas funding, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo plans to travel to Europe on Friday, the Treasury Department announced.
Adeyemo plans to work with partners in Europe to “deny Hamas and other terrorist organizations the ability to raise and use funds.”
Last week, Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network laid out new rules taking aim at the ability of Hamas and other terror groups to use cryptocurrencies for fundraising. FinCEN proposed designating foreign cryptocurrency “mixers” – platforms that make digital funds harder to track – as money laundering and national security risks.