Combating the Financing of Proliferation: Challenges and New Tools

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This paper examines why it is that most governments appear to attach less importance to countering proliferation finance than they do to countering money laundering or terrorist financing. The paper examines this question from a number of perspectives including a definitional perspective, a national regulatory perspective and a private sector implementation perspective. It is shown that there are presently significant gaps in counter proliferation finance implementation at the national level, with follow-on implications for private sector compliance. A key finding is that most governments do not address the issue of proliferation finance as distinct from other forms of financial crime such as terrorist financing or money laundering. Practical opportunities for improved financial sector implementation of counter proliferation finance controls are identified, but it is argued that it is states that must do more to meet their obligations for improvements to be realised. The risks of not doing so are that the financial system will continue to be misused to finance the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The article seeks to fill a gap in existing academic literature on the question of why proliferation finance receives less attention than other forms of financial crime. The article builds on original research undertaken by the authors including into the typologies of proliferation finance, which were later incorporated into updated Financial Action Task Force guidance on this topic, as well as events organised by the authors to explore the topic of proliferation finance implementation with governments and the private sector.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Crime
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


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