Transnational Threat Finance Programme

This programme examines the financial dimensions of non-state threats to peace, security and democracy through research and external engagements.

From self-activating terrorists to non-state armed groups, understanding how these and other threats to peace, security and democracy are financially enabled forms the backbone of our research programme. As the global security landscape continues to shift away from terrorism being the chief threat to international peace and security, the anti-financial crime community must contend with a range of emerging threats and geopolitical concerns to preserve the integrity of the global financial system.

Through research, convening and targeted outreach, our programme brings new thinking and actionable solutions to how illicit finance impacts multiple facets of national security and human rights.

Key focus areas:

Terrorism and Extremism Financing

RUSI’s work focuses on rethinking approaches to countering terrorist financing, including assessing the role of new technologies, the threat of self-activating or ‘lone-actor’ terror finance, and the crime/terror financing nexus. We also take an interest in the financial underpinnings of extreme ideologies that can inspire individuals to pursue violence and otherwise threaten our societies. We also conduct capacity-building for both the public and private sectors on strengthening their counterterrorist financing systems.

We have a special focus on Europe through Project CRAAFT, an academic research and community-building initiative designed to build stronger, more coordinated counterterrorist financing capacity across the EU and in its neighbourhood.

Organised Crime, Terror and Insecurity in Africa (OCTA)

Project CRAAFT: Counter Terrorist Financing

Reassessing the Financing of Terrorism in 2022 (RAFT22)

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Near-Sighted on Far-Right Financing: Why we Need a CTF Rethink

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Project CRAAFT newsletter

Global Illicit Flows

Global illicit flows take diverse forms that are frequently interlinked, driven by organised crime and increasingly forming a nexus with state actors. These flows cross multiple jurisdictions worldwide, encompassing trafficking in drugs, weapons, humans and wildlife, as well as a range of lower-risk crimes such as illicit trade in counterfeit and other commodities, whose harm is more difficult to demonstrate. Flows generate substantial illicit financial movements, posing a significant threat to international security, impacting conflict dynamics including political settlements, undercutting development, undermining national economies, and fuelling further insecurity.

Our work provides robust research and analysis to better understand these threats and help governments, law-enforcement agencies and compliance officials to respond more effectively.

Financial Integrity for Democracy

This stream of research examines the important role of international anti-financial crime laws and standards in supporting secure and peaceful societies. On the one hand, these standards are valuable tools for holding corrupt and malign actors to account and can be particularly helpful in empowering grassroots actors. On the other hand, they can be abused by nefarious actors to pursue their own objectives or end up excluding large populations from the financial system, opening up further risks of exploitation.

In 2021, CFCS developed a workstream on addressing the unintended consequences of the FATF regime – particularly how governments across the autocracy–democracy spectrum have seized upon global AML/CTF standards to target political opponents, public protests and facets of civil society dedicated to accountability and transparency.