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Car bomb Iraq

Exploring Connections: Corruption, Terrorism and Terrorist Financing

Kayla Izenman and Tom Keatinge
Occasional Papers, 2 April 2020
Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, AML/CTF, Terrorism
This Occasional Paper explores how corruption can enable terrorism and facilitate terrorist financing.

In recent years, the international community has supplemented its longstanding focus on terrorism and terrorist financing with considerations of ways in which these threats intersect with other forms of illicit activity, notably organised crime. 

A less explored perspective is the manner in which corruption – for example, corrupt border security guards or the illegal exploitation of natural resources – can facilitate both terrorism and terrorist financing. This paper sets out to remedy this dearth by looking at terrorism and terrorist financing, respectively. 

This paper divides its analysis across two primary areas: considering the ways in which corruption can enable terrorism, and how corruption can also facilitate terrorist financing. In the former, the connection between terrorism and corruption is particularly evident in two fields: border corruption and defence sector corruption.

Through a literature review and the use of case studies, this paper highlights each of these areas in turn. It concludes with recommendations for policymakers to consider in order to advance efforts to not only raise awareness of but also address the issues related to the intersection of corruption, terrorism and terrorist financing.

BANNER IMAGE: Courtesy of Ronald Shaw Jr./Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons.

Kayla Izenman
Research Analyst

Kayla is a Research Analyst at RUSI’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies. She joined RUSI in September 2018 following the... read more

Tom Keatinge
Director, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, RUSI

Tom Keatinge is the Director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at RUSI, where his research focuses on matters at... read more

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