Duncan Mavin

Duncan Mavin is a seasoned international financial journalist and author of the critically acclaimed Pyramid of Lies: Lex Greensill and the Multi-Billion Dollar Scandal.

Born and raised near Newcastle, he studied history at Durham University and spent a decade as a chartered accountant in the City and in Toronto.

He then became a financial reporter and foreign correspondent for Canada’s National Post. Since 2009, he has been a reporter and editor for Dow Jones publications including the Wall Street Journal, based in Hong Kong, London and New York. Duncan wrote and edited the Journal’s influential Heard on the Street column for several years, and was the Journal’s Financial Editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was also the Managing Editor for Barron’s Group. He has also contributed to podcasts and radio and many live events. His writing has also appeared in Barron’s, Financial News and on Bloomberg News.

He lives with his wife and three sons in the UK, and is a long-suffering fan of Sunderland football club.


Pyramid of Lies: Lex Greensill and the Billion Dollar Scandal

Duncan Mavin

Pyramid of Lies is an epic true story of ambition, greed and hubris that nearly brought down the British government.

In March 2021, an obscure financial technology company called Greensill Capital collapsed, going into administration. As it unravelled, a multibillion-dollar scandal emerged that would shake the very foundations of the British political system, drawing in Swiss bankers, global CEOs, and world leaders, including former British Prime Minister, David Cameron. At the centre was an Australian financier named Lex Greensill.

Pyramid of Lies charts the meteoric rise and spectacular downfall of Greensill and his company. He had a simple idea – democratising supply chain finance – and disrupted a trillion dollar industry in the process. But a staid business model concealed dubious practices as Greensill made increasingly risky loans to fraudulent companies using other people’s money.

Financial journalist Duncan Mavin, who has reported on the scandal for over three years, tells the incredible story of how a former sugar-cane farmer would go on to put tens of thousands of jobs at risk and gain unfettered access to the inner workings of the British government. With a globe-circling narrative full of scandal and intrigue, Pyramid of Lies reveals how the grubby world of shadow banking really operates.

unputdownably delicious…This book is the British version of Bad Blood … and The Cult of We’ but ‘spikier…[and] all the better for that

— The Sunday Times

The picture that emerges from Mavin’s forensic and riveting book is of a man driven by grasping insecurity

— New Statesman

A meticulously researched and enjoyably lively account of this major financial scandal

— Telegraph

[a] terrific book… Mavin, who covered the story for the Wall Street Journal, is a meticulous reporter

— Observer (Book of the Week)

An incredible book, transforming a complex financial scandal into a rich character drama. The details bringing you inside the room as this improbable tower of deceit comes toppling down are what makes it worth reading to the end.

— Bradley Hope, co-author of New York Times bestseller Billion Dollar Whale

Quite simply, one of the best books of investigative journalism I have ever read. Duncan Mavin is a natural story-teller and a brilliant sleuth – and the extraordinary story he pieces together is one of political vanity, reckless avarice and grotesque systemic failure. Definitive.

— Matthew d’Ancona, author of Post-Truth

Leaves little doubt that much is indeed wrong in the excessively close relationship between some financiers and politicians . . . [who] stood to gain millions of pounds.

— Simon Clark, author of The Key Man

Mavin expertly demystifies the rise and fall of Greensill Capital and weaves an intriguing tale at the cross section of sleaze, power and greed at the heart of UK politics and global finance. A fascinating – and prescient – read.

— Karl Holbrook, Executive Editor, Daily Express

The extraordinary story of Greensill’s rise and collapse is a microcosm of global finance in the last decade . . . a keen eye for the colourful – and at times absurd – human drama.

— Peter Thal Larsen, EMEA Editor Reuters Breakingviews

The definitive account of the Greensill Capital’s rise and spectacular meltdown . . . and a searing inquisition into the political connections that make it all possible.

— Mary Childs, cohost of NPR's Planet Money and author of The Bond King