A comprehensive investigation by the New York Times, based on documents and testimonies of Mossad personnel, reveals how the global investment network of Hamas was exposed by the Mossad and points to the failures of the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, which did not take special action to stop the financial mechanism in light of the findings presented to it.
However, already two years ago, a former senior official at the Mossad warned in a special interview with Forbes Israel that the suitcases of money transferred to Hamas in recent years severely damaged the financial war waged by the Mossad against the terrorist organization. The interview took place as part of the Forbes Israel project to map the richest terrorist organizations in the world.
The US media investigation also shows what was already published on Hamas’s Investment portfolio estimated to be worth more than $500 million, generating for the terrorist organization annual profits of tens of millions of dollars – which were used for its terrorist activity
The investigation by the New York Times shows that already in 2018, members of the special economic unit of the “Harpoon” institution managed to break into the computer of a senior Hamas official and retrieve financial documents, invoices and account books. The documents, which were later placed on the Prime Minister’s desk, outlined the global investment fund that Hamas built over many years and included holdings in diverse companies in many countries.
The US media investigation also shows what was already published on May 2022 by the US Department of Treasury on Hamas’s Investment portfolio estimated to be worth more than $500 million, generating for the terrorist organization profits of tens of millions of dollars a year which were used for its terrorist activity and military strengthening. This finding actually accurately confirms the findings of the terrorism investigation published by Forbes Israel in January 2022 based on former Mossad and intelligence officials.
In the Forbes Israel investigation, as part of the “World’s Richest Terrorist Organizations” project, it is stated that in recent decades Hamas has developed a branched business network, through which it controls about 40 commercial companies in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria and Sudan – most of them in the real estate sector. and the infrastructures. These companies manage projects on a large scale and hold assets for Hamas with an estimated value of half a billion dollars – where tens of millions of dollars a year are laundered and funneled to Hamas from their income.
The Forbes investigation also revealed that “the companies are owned and controlled by Hamas supporters and activists, are registered according to local law, report to the tax authorities and manage seemingly legitimate relationships with international companies, banks, suppliers and many customers.” All this is possible thanks to a sympathetic regime in Turkey, after Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries showed them the door out. The organization uses the lightening regulation of the Turkish banking system to launder and transfer the capital accumulated in its coffers thanks to those companies.’
Money laundering through charity funds
The financial infrastructure in Turkey is also used to raise funds from wealthy Palestinian businessmen, owners of companies and businesses. The array of charitable funds and relief and welfare associations – a common financing model among terrorist organizations – is also used to raise tens of millions of dollars a year, which are laundered and funneled to it in the same way.
In a special interview we held for the purpose of the investigation with Mossad senior Uzi Shaya, the former intelligence officer noted the importance of Turkey as an essential and even critical platform in Hamas’s activities. His words are now valid and have a strong meaning mainly in view of President Erdogan’s repeated attacks on Israel and his unreserved support for Hamas, despite the murderous terrorist attack and the war he started on October 7. “Turkey is the financial hub of Hamas, which uses banking, exchange and the Turkish business system for its needs. All its financiers and financial strategists are based in the country and manage the organization’s entire economic operation from there. Turkey also serves as a conduit through which the funds from Iran are routed,” he said at the time.
“Changing to rules of the game“
Shaya, who has years of experience in economic warfare during his service as a senior in the ‘Harpoon’ unit, the secret unit established with the aim of eliminating the financial infrastructure of the terrorist organizations, then severely attacked the phenomenon of the money suitcases, which had become routine under the Netanyahu governments. Already two years ago, in a special interview we conducted with him as part of the investigation, he warned against the phenomenon that has become a dangerous method: “Israel allows tens of millions of dollars to be brought into Gaza every month – thereby enabling the economic development of the organization,” he warned then, pointing to those suitcases of money for Hamas as a major breaking point in the financial war In terrorist organizations: “It’s about breaking all the tools. To say that everything we did in the past is simply not worth it.”
“After transferring 30 million dollars to Hamas, it is very problematic to conduct an operation to stop 150 thousand shekels.” warned, “the power of this tool was in the strategic perception and the understanding that this is one of the important legs of the fight against terrorism – so to say that we are in regression here, would be a delicate description of the situation.”