paris attacks

Stemming the Financing of Terrorism

IS in Raqqa Source AP
A photo released by an Islamic State militant site showing the reading of a court verdict in Raqqa City, Syria.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    In the aftermath of the Paris attacks on November 13, security experts seek to understand – and stop – the sources of financing of terrorism.

  • Facts


    • Leaders of the G20 countries have agreed to work more closely together to stem terrorism financing, tighten border controls and share intelligence.
    • The OECD’s Financial Action Task Force is an intergovernmental group fighting terrorism financing, which has criticized European governments for not moving faster to freeze the bank accounts of known terrorists.
    • Experts say terrorists fund attacks through sources ranging from donations to money laundering.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

Tom Keatinge, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank focusing on the financing of terrorism, explained in an interview with Handelsblatt how terrorists get money for attacks. Mr. Keatinge spent two decades working for JP Morgan and now heads the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies in London. He estimates that the Paris attacks likely did not cost very much – and probably were funded through a combination of sources, not using established banks but other institutions.


Handelsblatt: The terrorist attacks in Paris seem to have been well organized and well funded. Where do terrorists get the money from?

Tom Keatinge: This is unclear. We do not know the source of funding. We assume it was a mixture – that some actors in the group used their own funds and others used funds provided by the IS or supporters of IS. We think it was a reasonable amount of money which did not come from petty crime but we are not talking about huge amounts of money.

What’s your guess? How much money was needed?

We don’t know it but from what we know about terror attacks in the past we’d probably say it was a €25,000 operation. They rented a car, they had weapons, suicide vests, they surely spent time in planning which would have needed a rental apartment and whatever. But that’s just a guess based on previous attacks. 9/11 cost $500,000, the bombing in London in July 2005 probably cost 10,000 pounds.

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