On 10/02/2013, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in relation to the petition filed with the Supreme Court, acting in its capacity as the High Court of Justice, requesting the Court to order the commander of the IDF forces in Judea and Samaria to return the funds seized and confiscated by the IDF, during a search of the petitioner’s offices.
The petitioner’s money was confiscated after the security authorities accumulated information concerning the petitioner’s actions in aid of Palestinian terror organizations, including by means of money transfers through a money exchange office owned by the petitioner. Upon establishing the facts detailed above, the IDF commander ordered the closure of the petitioner’s money exchange office for a period of six months and also ordered the confiscation of the money seized in the office, during a search of the office.
Following these actions the petitioner filed a petition in which he requested that the confiscated funds should be returned to him as he claimed he had no connection to terrorist activities and the confiscation of the money in his possession was undertaken arbitrarily and without any evidential basis. The petition additionally stated that the fact that no indictment had been issued against the petitioner was evidence that there was no information indicating his involvement in the transfer of terrorist funds.
After deliberation, and review of the classified intelligence information gathered by the security authorities, the Supreme Court decided to reject the petition. In its decision the Supreme Court stated its reliance on the case of Alajoli, (בג”ץ 10224/06 חברת אלעג’ולי נ’ שר הביטחון), that Regulation 84 of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations 1945 (Regulation 84) can be used for the confiscation of funds belonging to terrorist organizations. (Regulation 84 relates to unlawful association and gives a military commander various powers in relation to the property of unlawful associations.) Furthermore, the Court determined that where difficulty arises in identifying the precise funds in a person’s possession that belong to terror organizations and funds not related to terror activity, as a result of the holder of the funds intentionally mixing such funds, the burden of proof that the funds are not related to terror activity shall fall on the person in possession of such funds.
The Court also noted that the fact that an indictment was not issued does not necessarily exclude the existence of sufficient evidence for the implementation of the confiscation of the funds in question. With regard to the standard of proof required for carrying out the operation of administrative authority of this nature, the Court stated that the standard of proof does not need to be to as high a standard as is required for a criminal conviction or even the standard required to issue an indictment. Accordingly, in a matter of this nature the administrative authority can rely on classified information.
In relation to the facts of the case, the Court determined that the classified evidence presented to them indicated that the petitioner acted intentionally through his money exchange office to transfer funds to terrorist organizations and key terrorist operatives. In addition, the court established that the petitioner intentionally mixed legal funds with funds originating from terrorist organizations, making it difficult to distinguish between the different times of funds and accordingly the petitioner was unable to prove the funds seized were not connected to terrorist organizations. Therefore all funds seized were seen as funds suitable for confiscation.
In light of the above, the Court unanimously rejected the petition and ordered the petitioner to pay the costs of the state to the sum of 25,000₪.