Cantor Fitzgerald CEO backs cryptocurrency Tether despite Hamas links

SCIENCE & TECH: Cantor Fitzgerald CEO backs cryptocurrency Tether despite Hamas links



Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick is taking heat over the New York financial giant’s massive investment in Tether – a cryptocurrency popular with terrorist groups including Hamas.

Last month, Lutnick — a fierce supporter of Israel whose brother was among the nearly 3,000 killed in the 9/11 attacks — touted Tether at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, reassuring investors that the company’s balance sheet is in order.

Lutnick would know.

Cantor Fitzgerald manages “many many” of the crypto giant’s reported $86 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg.

“They have the money they say they have,” Lutnick told Bloomberg Television, addressing long-held speculation that Tether’s coin wasn’t backed one-to-one with dollars.

Lutnick’s vocal support for Tether raised eyebrows in the wake of Hamas’ deadly terror attack in Israel on Oct. 7. 

Three militant groups — Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah — received $93 million through crypto in the year leading up to the massacre, primarily on Tether, according to a review of Israeli government seizure orders and blockchain analytics reports, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Howard Lutnick sits in front of family pictures. They include one of his brother who died in the 9/11 attacks. AP

“Tether is being used for terrorist funding and more widely being used in crypto frauds and scams,” Adam Zarazinski, CEO of crypto currency intelligence firm Inca Digital, told The Post.

Zarazinski, who testified in front of the US House Committee on Financial Services about terrorist funding on Oct. 25, provided an example of a Gaza Now Telegram channel that gave an email account for donations in Tether.

The post was later deleted.

He called on Lutnick to push Tether to crack down on terror funding, as well as scams and money laundering.

Lutnick’s fight against terrorism and his support of crypto Tether is inconsistent, Zarazinski told The Post. Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

“Tether can do more,” Zarazinski said. 

Tether officials said the $93 million reported by The Journal “is wildly overstated and inaccurate.”

“Forbes, Fortune, and independent leading blockchain analytic firms Chainalysis and Elliptic made it clear that this figure is wrong,” a Tether spokeswoman told The Post on Tuesday.

“Israel’s National Bureau of Counter Terrorist Financing identified ~$873,000 of USDT linked to illicit activity in the Middle East and this was immediately frozen by Tether. We will continue our strong working relationship with global law enforcement to combat and freeze any illicit use of Tether.”

Israel has called the terror attack on its soil its 9/11, something that hits close to home for Lutnick, whose brother was among the 960 Cantor Fitzgerald workers killed in the World Trade Center. 

Hamas uses Tether for some money transfers, according to the Wall Street Journal. SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Likely, Lutnick only survived because he was late getting to work after dropping his son off at kindergarten.

He rebuilt Cantor, becoming a model of resilience and donated $180 million to victims’ relatives.

Lutnick is a director of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

In 2017, the UJA-Federation honored Lutnick at its annual Wall Street dinner.

Since the Hamas attack, the Wall Street firm has been raising money to help Israelis – matching all donations. 

Cantor Fitzgerald is shocked by the horrors occurring in the Middle East. We stand with Israel and condemn the atrocities committed against it by Hamas. Never again is now,” Cantor Fitzgerald says on its website.

Adam Zarazinski believes Tether could stop more questionable transactions. Atlantic Council

“Hamas is terrorism and we are here to aid Israel.”

A source who knows Lutnick said criticism of the Cantor boss was unfair.

“It’s not accurate to say that it’s being hypocritical by supporting Israel while also working with a company who’s trying to stop their product from being used to support any suspicious activity,” the source said.

A spokesperson for Lutnick and Cantor declined to comment.



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