Sunday, May 24, 2015


Five-star hotel in Gaza
Lost in the media coverage of the extensive, and thus far unrepaired, damage in Gaza, as the result of last years's armed conflict between Hamas and Israel, is the disclosure that there are a large number of millionaires living in Gaza.  An investigative report, filed by an Arabic news website, located in London, estimates that there are at least 1700 millionaires in Gaza. Considering that these wealthy individuals are, by necessity, affiliated with Hamas, are you unwittingly banking any of them ?

Contrary to what you see on television, there is wealth and affluence in Gaza, and the number of Hamas millionaires is  growing. Their number has doubled in the last six years, according to the investigation. How do these PEPs get rich ?

Another luxury hotel in Gaza
 (1) It is appropriated by the senior Hamas leadership, which is riddled with corrupt PEPs, who siphon off a portion of all official contributions, received from outside the Territory, by governmental and NGO donors. Some of the most senior leaders are even known to be billionaires.

(2) Many of the smugglers who covertly moved goods, including arms and ammunition, into Gaza through the tunnel system, became wealthy from the sheer bulk of goods they transport.

(3) Hamas taxed smuggled goods, which provided funds for some of the government services which it provided, but one must assume that even a portion of that money was diverted by the PEPs who collected, and had custody, of the tax proceeds levied upon the smuggling operations.

(4) Donated cash, usually consisting of US Dollar currency, which is smuggled into Gaza, to provide material support for Hamas, is pilfered by intermediary PEPs.

As you can see, there are many ways that Gazans can accumulate illicit cash; Once obtained, it can be transferred out of the territory, using any one of the financial institutions, or money service businesses, that maintain branches there. Those banks can thereafter transfer those funds to banks located in the European Union, or in North America. Yes, that means to your bank

Al-Faisal Equestrian Club, Gaza

Ask yourself these questions:

(A) Are you receiving funds, for one of your existing accounts, from Arab banks who maintain branches in either Gaza or the West Bank ?

(B) Does your depositor have a place of birth in what is now Israel, or either of the two territories ? Remember, he probably has a Jordanian, Egyptian or Syrian passport, but he is Palestinian.

(C) Does your depositor show a residential or business address in Gaza ?

If the answers to these questions indicate that you may be banking a Hamas millionaire; Perform an enhanced due diligence investigation forthwith, and exit any client believed, by the preponderance of the evidence, to be Hamas. To do otherwise invites regulatory sanctions and reputation damage.

Gaza City

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