Ten myths about terrorist financing

W.A. Tupman (Centre for Police and Criminal Justice Studies, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK)

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to present ten myths of terrorist financing policy.


It is argued that post 9/11 literature on terrorism misunderstands the relationship between the component parts of a political movement with an armed wing and thus misrepresents the nature of terrorist financing applies the literature on crime as a business to policy on terrorist financing and concludes that there are loosely‐organised networks that engage in the fund‐raising processes of the political movement as a whole as well as its armed wing.


Financing methods vary with type of group and over time. That terrorist/paramilitary funding increasingly parallels the business of organised crime and that what is claimed to be known about terrorist funding is mostly erroneous. That funds seized have not been primarily for terrorist financing and that the seizure has done more harm than good.

Practical implications

Thought needs to be given to the impact of funding seizures more that simply in terms of newspaper headlines.


More effective impact can be made upon terrorist financing if a more complex approach is taken, rather than perpetuating the existing myths, which alienate more communities than they deter terrorists.



Tupman, W. (2009), "Ten myths about terrorist financing", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 189-205. https://doi.org/10.1108/13685200910951938

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