King, C., Walker, C., Gurulé, J. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Criminal and Terrorism Financing Law

Una breve presentazione del libro


Popular depictions abound of criminal financing through racketeering and organised crime, as have been delivered by Hollywood productions such as The Godfather, The Sopranos, and The Wire. Counter-terrorism financing (CTF) may be somewhat less glamorised, but occasional glimpses into the business of terrorism, such as the Osama bin Laden Document Release by the US Director of National Intelligence and based on materials seized in the Abbottabad raid of 2011, revealed some fascinating insights.[1]

The generation of public attention through not only popular culture but also governmental promotion might be viewed by some commentators as excessive.[2] However, governments remain vehement and have depicted terrorism and organised crime as prime national security threats.[3] Yet, conventional policing responses have struggled to make a sufficient impact, as demonstrated by the churn of organisational and operational models. The current approach to criminal assets is to adopt anti-money laundering measures to prevent ‘dirty money’ from infiltrating the legitimate economy, and asset recovery powers to target the accumulated financial assets of those engaged in criminal activity. As for financial trails of terrorists, following 9/11, the international community has now in an increasingly shrill voice demanded action by way of CTF.[4] and by in 2014 and 2015 (dealing with ‘foreign terrorist fighters and Islamic State). There remain distinctions between criminal money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, such as an emphasis on intelligence gathering as much as the negation of the value of criminal enterprise. At the same time, there are also parallels and cross-fertilisation of ‘lessons learnt’.[5]

In short, the importance of the agendas of anti-money laundering (AML), asset recovery (AR), and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) cannot be doubted. But there is room for doubt about the effectiveness and fairness of many aspects of these agendas.



This book seeks to respond to the need for deeper analysis of the relevant ‘follow the money’ policies, legislation, and institutions. It applies a comprehensive, authoritative, insightful, and detailed evaluation of impacts to date and future directions in policy, practice, and research and builds on the work of many leading authors from a wide variety of jurisdictions (including Italy). Key issues for discussion include the following themes.

In terms of the substantive agenda, the broad policy of ‘follow the money’ requires reflection upon different aspects of its approaches, namely, AML, AR (which can include post-conviction confiscation of assets, civil recovery absent criminal conviction, and taxation of illegally acquired assets), and the CTF equivalents. The book also assesses not just designs but also actual impacts. These first two themes give rise to a third. A prime goal behind our project is to seek to understand legal structures and measures in the context of practice, drawing upon the insights of policymakers and practitioners, as well as academics.[6]

Moving on to institutional aspects of the book, attention is given to the appropriate design of relevant agencies, which can involve complex choices about the need for specialism and independence, the role of multi- and inter-agency cooperation and the deployment of special and sensitive powers and techniques. Another important aspect of institutional design is accountability which is affected by limited transparency.

More broadly, issues of legitimacy must be tackled. While policy discourse emphasises the positive rationales underpinning the ‘follow the money’ activities, which may be justified by broad claims to public security and protection, there are inevitable detriments to those affected by the broad enforcement action. Individual rights can be severely compromised, not least because private stakeholders may be free to impose detriments on individuals without constraint by public law doctrines of individual rights and accountability.

Next, the implications arising from the crossing of borders must be considered when dealing with transnational crime and transnational terrorism.[7] Our multi-national focus therefore draws upon experiences of several European countries, especially Italy, as well as common law jurisdictions and international organisations including the EU and UN.

Finally, changing environments demand novel research and practical and legal adaptability. Novel techniques which are discussed include modes of asset exchange such as hawala and electronic or virtual currencies (such as Bitcoin).


Book contents

The Handbook of Criminal and Terrorism Financing Law provides innovative commentary in that it examines in a comprehensive way all aspects of criminal and terrorist assets. Our three agendas are reflected in the structure of the book. Part II (Chapters 2 through to 15) covers ‘anti-money laundering measures’. Part III (Chapters 16 through to 29) deals with ‘asset recovery’. Part IV (Chapters 30 through to 47) is devoted to ‘counter-terrorism financing’. Second, the book is also comprehensive in terms of disciplines. The main theme is legal, but the contributors also reflect other disciplines — politics, criminology, business, and economics. In addition, there is practitioner input as well as legal input. Third, the jurisdictional coverage is broad. Fourth, the chapters reflect new or substantially updated materials and not simply reprints of previous publications. As a result, the book delivers original, theoretically informed, and well-referenced analysis, which is accessible to both practitioners and scholars alike.


[1] Office of the Director of National Intelligence, ‘Bin Laden’s Bookshelf’ <> accessed 12 June 2017.

[2] See especially Frank Furedi, Invitation to Terror (Continuum, 2007).

[3] See for instance UK Government, National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015: A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom (Cm 9161, 2015).

[4] See UNGA International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (adopted 9 December 1999) (2000) 39 ILM 270; UN Security Council Resolution 1267 of 15 October 1999, 1333 of 19 December 2000, 1373 of 28 September 2001, and 2178 and 2253.

[5] Colin King and Clive Walker, ‘Counter Terrorism Financing: A Redundant Fragmentation?’ (2015) 6(3) New Journal of European Criminal Law 372

[6] Our preparatory work, including preliminary papers, can be found at

[7] See Ben Bowling and James Sheptycki, Global Policing (Sage 2012); Saskia Hufnagel, Policing Cooperation Across Borders (Ashgate Publishing 2013).