From financing needs to criminal terrorism: The role of terrorist financing in crime-terror relations



(Counter)Financing, Terrorism, Crime, Nexus, (contra)financiación, terrorismo, crimen, nexo


After twenty years of national and international measures to combat financing of terrorism and money laundering, global terrorism has encountered greater restrictions to access the volume of economic resources it needs which has justified its collaboration with criminal organisations or conversion into criminal-terrorist organisations. This study seeks to analyse crime-terror relations by looking at the influence of the fight against terrorist financing in the evolution of global terrorist organisations, which have developed structures to establish a new range of relationships with transnational organised crime with unprecedented intensity. This article highlights some of the features that differentiate global terrorism from other types of terrorism, especially in terms of its objectives, organisational structures and funding possibilities, as well as pointing out a possible effect of the fight against terrorist financing in the relationship between terrorism and crime. Finally, it offers the different contexts where economic, political and social circumstances have created new cooperation models with organised crime groups.

Tras veinte años de desarrollo de medidas nacionales e internacionales encaminadas a combatir la financiación del terrorismo y el blanqueo de capitales, el terrorismo global ha encontrado grandes restricciones para acceder al volumen de recursos económicos que necesita. Este estudio aborda la influencia de la lucha contra la financiación del terrorismo en la evolución de las organizaciones terroristas globales y en el cambio de la naturaleza y alcance de las relaciones entre el crimen organizado y el terrorismo. Así mismo examina los diferentes contextos en los que las circunstancias económicas, políticas y sociales han propiciado la creación de nuevos modelos de cooperación de las organizaciones terroristas con los grupos criminales organizados.

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Author Biographies

Inmaculada Marrero Rocha, Universidad de Granada

PhD in Political Science and currently Senior Lecture of International Relations at the University of Granada and Executive Secretary of the Euroarab Foundation for Higher Studies. She studied postgraduate studies at the Institut de Hautes Études Internationales of the University of Geneva, has been a Fulbright Fellow at the American Studies Institute at the University of Delaware (USA). She also has professional experience in foreign institutions, such as the European Institute of Public Administration of Maastricht (Netherlands) and at the Geneva Center for Security Studies in Geneva (Switzerland). Her main lines of research are: Radicalisation and Foreign Fighters, Foreign Policy, Security and Defense, Conflicts and Peace Processes, Arms Control and Disarmament and, Privatization of Security. Speaker at conferences, courses and seminars at the University of Valdivia (Chile), Universidad del Valle (Colombia), Pricess Al Anood Foundation in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), at the International Studies Association, European International Studies Association, University of Mons (Belgium ), Center d'Etudes et de Recherchers Humanines et Sociales (Oujda, Morocco), The Arab Administrative Development Organization. The League of Arab States (Morocco), at the University of Calgliari (Italy), Autonomous University of Madrid, University of the Basque Country, Pompeu Fabra University, University of Santiago de Compostela,  among others.

Main researcher in different European projects related with radicalisation, terrorism and extremism: Research and Innovation Project: "Foreign Terrorist Fighters and European Security: Psychosocial Parameters of Radicalisation". Project reference: DER2015-63857-R Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, European Fund for Regional Development (MINECO/FEDER); H2020."TAKEDOWN: Understand the dimensions of organised crime and terrorist networks for developing effective and efficient security solutions for first-line-practitioners and professionals" - ( Research and Innovation project reference nº: H2020 FCT-16-2015 700688; EC - D.G Justice Project: "DERAD: Counter radicalisation through the rule of law". Reference project nº: UST/2015/JTRA/AG/EJTR/8704); EC - D.G. Home Project: "Mobile assistance interagency teams to detect and prevent the escalation of violent radicalism". Reference project nº: HOME/2015/ISFP/AG/LETX/8774; EC - D.G. Home Project: "EURAD: Shariah based communicative approach to counter violent radicalism". Reference project nº: HOME/2015/ISFP/AG/LETX/8774; H2020 Project: "PAVE: Preventing and Addressing Violent Extremism through Community Resilience in the Balkans and MENA region" project number 870769 on grant preparation under call topic Drivers and contexts of violent extremism in the broader MENA region and the Balkans SU-GOVERNANCE-10-2019; EC - D.G. Home -  Internal Security Fund Project: "ARMOUR: A Radical Model of Resilience for Youth Minds" project number: 823683of the Directorate General for Migrations and Home Affairs; H2020 Project: "RETOPEA: Religious Toleration and Peace. Promoting religious peace and tolerance through history" (, Research and Innovation Action funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement nº 770309; H2020 Project: "PERCEPTIONS: Understand the Impact of Novel Technologies, Social Media, and Perceptions in Countries Abroad on Migration Flows and the Security of the EU & Provide Validated Counter Approaches, Tools and Practices" Grant Agreement  nº: 833870; Europe for Citizens program: “SISUMMA: Social Initiative of Support to Minorities through Media-Activism” Reference project nº: 575995-CITIZ-1-2016-1-ES-CITIZ-CIV (2016-2018).; H2020 Project. "MIICT: Information and Communication Technologies - Enabled Public Services for Migration " Grant Agreement nº 822380 funded by the European Union under TOPIC H2020-SC6-MIGRATION-2018; and DG Justice, Project: “SAT-LAW: Strategic Assessment for LAW and Police Cooperation, Funded by DG Justice JUST-JCOO-AG-2017. Project number 800816.

Among her latest publications related with security studies and radicalisation: Soldados del Terrorismo Global (Tecnos, 2020), Jihadism, Foreign Fighters and Radicalization in the EU (Routledge, 2019); Armed Conflicts, Communication and Gender (Tecnos, 2015); Global System Dynamics in The Relationships Between Organized Crime and Terrorist Groups (Organized Crime and Terrorist Networks, Vincenzo Ruggiero, Routledge, 2019); The Spatial Effects of Violent Political Events on Mortality in Countries Of Africa (South African Geographical Journal, 2019);  New dynamics in the relations between organized crime and terrorist groups (Spanish Journal of International Law, No. 69/2, 2017, pp. 145-169); The European Union’s Arms Trade Control and European Civil Society (The European Union’s External Action in Time of Crisis, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016, pp. 547-571); “Terrorist” Foreign Fighters of the European Union in the light of Resolution 2178 (2014) of the United Nations Security Council (Journal of European Community Law, number 54, 2016, pp. 555-594); Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and democracy (Cahiers de la mediterranée, no. 91, javier-décembre 2015, pp. 203-215); The Responsibility to Protect the international community in the cases of Syria and Libya: Comparative Analysis”, (International Relations Magazine, No. 22, pp. 127-148, 2013, ISSN: 1699-3950).

Javier Ruipérez Canales, Universidad de Granada

Javier Ruipérez Canales is International Projects and Research Manager at the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies (Spain) where he has been working for the last 12 years. Javier is engineer in Naval Architecture by the Polytechnic University of Madrid, holds Master Studies in Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility by UNED, Master Studies in Cooperation and Development Public Policies Management by the University of Granada where he is currently PhD candidate at the Social Sciences Program and Master Engineering Studies in Naval Architecture. Javier  is founder and former Delegate in Andalusia of the organization Economists Without Borders, counts on extensive experience in the design and implementation research and intervention projects at international level.


27-01-2022 — Updated on 01-08-2022

How to Cite

Marrero Rocha, I. and Ruipérez Canales, J. (2022) “From financing needs to criminal terrorism: The role of terrorist financing in crime-terror relations”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 12(4), pp. 762–789. Available at: (Accessed: 24 February 2024).