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Loretta Napoleoni

Loretta Napoleoni

Loretta Napoleoni is currently completing a PhD in terrorism at the London School of Economics. She has conducted numerous interviews with former members of the Red Brigades and more recently has met members of Islamist armed organisations. She is currently interviewing extremists in Kashmir and smugglers in Colombia.

She has written extensively on the subject and her work has appeared in many journals and publications. She holds a Masters in International Relations and Economocis from SAIS and has worked with the IMF, the United Nations, and the European Bank for Reconstuction and Development.


Terrorists require a steady supply of cash in order to carry out their acts of violence - but where does the money come from and how much is the business of terror actually worth?

Loretta Napoleoni - who has worked for the IMF, the UN and currently advises the US Homeland Security on terrorism, and author of Terror Inc – tracing the money behind global terrorism, reveals 10 things you didn’t know about the economics of terrorism

Did you know…?

1. The ‘New Economy of Terror’ is worth $1.5 trillion – that’s twice the entire GDP of the UK.
2. Terrorism is funded through both illegal activity such as drugs, arms, gems and people smuggling, as well as through entirely legal operations from charities to legitimate business.
3. In 2001 alone, the IRA raised $7 million through criminal activity.
4. The smuggling of narcotics generates a turnover of around $400 billion a year.
5. Of this $400 billion, as little as $1.4billion stays in the country of origin.
6. The smuggling of people, weapons and other goods totals $100 billion.
7. In Pakistan, a legally bought 21-inch Sony TV cost around $500. An illegally smuggled one cost 25% less.
8. One of Osama bin Laden’s most profitable businesses is his Gum Arabic Company Ltd in Sudan – gum arabic is a substance used to stop sediment forming in soft drinks and to create a protective shell around sweets and pills. Gum Arabic Company Ltd supplies 80 per cent of the world’s demand for this product.
9. In 2001, about $68 billion were given in aid to countries which produce drugs such as Afghanistan, or are drug transhipment points such as Chechnya. The bulk of this money never reached the needy, but went to sustain the drugs, smuggling and terror industries, which in turn shipped or spent the profits outside the country of origin.
10. The budget to carry out the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre was only $500,000.

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