Loretta Napoleoni is the bestselling author of Maonomics, Rogue Economics, Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism and money laundering. As Chairman of the countering terrorism financing group for the Club de Madrid, Napoleoni brought heads of state from around the world together to create a new strategy for combating the financing of terror networks.
Napoleoni is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky and the BBC. She is among the few economists who predicted the credit crunch and the recession, and advises several banks on strategies to counter the current ongoing crisis. She lectures regularly around the world on economics, terrorism and money laundering.
Loretta is also a columnist and writes about terrorism, money laundering and the economy for several European financial papers including El Pais, The Guardian and Le Monde. In the 1990s she was among the first journalists to interview the Red Brigades, the Italian Marxist armed group. She subsequently spent three years interviewing members of other terrorist organizations. In 2003 she interviewed followers of al Zarqawi in both Europe and in the Middle East.
Born and raised in Rome, in the mid 1970s she became an active member of the feminist movement and a political activist. She was a Fulbright scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC and a Rotary Scholar at the London School of Economics. She has a Masters of Philosophy in international relations and one in terrorism at the London School of Economics.
She began her career as an economist, working for several banks and international organizations in Europe and the US. In the early 1980s she spent 2 years in Budapest at the National Bank of Hungary working on a project for the convertibility of the florin that ten years later became the blueprint for the convertibility of the rouble. In he 1980s she worked for a UK registered Russian Bank, Moscow Narodny Bank, which acted as the foreign branch of the Bank of Foreign Trade. This position afforded her a unique insight into the Soviet economy. In 1992 she produced the final documentation for the structure of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD. She teaches a course at Judge Business Schools, Cambridge.
Napoleoni ’s books include Modern Jihad (Pluto Press, London, 2003); Terror Inc. (Penguin, London, 2004); Insurgent Iraq (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2005); Terror Incorporated (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2005); Rogue Economics (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2008); Terror and the Economy (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2010) and Maonomics: Why Chinese Communists Are Better Capitalists Than We Are (Seven Stories Press 2011) . Her best seller is Islamist Phoenix (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2014). “The IS doesn’t want to destroy. They want to build the 21st century version of the Calliphate and that is what makes them so dangerous”. Her books are translated into 18 languages including Chinese and Arabic. Napoleoni has released in 2016 Merchants of Men, a book examining the link between the post 9/11 Western foreign policy as well as kidnapping and the refugee crisis. Relying on original interviews with former hostages, negotiators, member of crisis units and refugees, the book details how post 9/11 Western foreign policy is responsible for the birth of a new breed of criminal and terrorists engaged in kidnapping of Westerners and trafficking migrants. Napoleoni unearths all these elements in Merchant of Men.
North Korea, The Country We Love to Hate The political analyst and bestselling author Loretta Napoleni challenges our Western preconceptions of North Korea. Napoleoni situates North Korea in context – historical and ideological – and answers questions central to our global future.
She lives between the UK and the US.
Loretta Napoleoni was a juror for Journalismfund.eu's European Cross-border Grants programme from 2018 until 2022.