Duncan Mavin

Duncan Mavin is a seasoned international financial journalist.

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.


The Pyramid of Lies

Duncan Mavin

The Pyramid of Lies is the true story of Lex Greensill, the Australian farmer who became a billionaire banker and then crashed to earth, exposing a tangled network of flawed financiers, politicians and industrialists.

Lex Greensill had a simple, billion-dollar idea – democratising trade finance. Suppliers want to get their invoices paid as soon as possible. Companies want to hold off as long as they can. Greensill bridged the two, it’s mundane, boring even, but he saw an opportunity to profit. However, margins are thin and Lex, ever the risk taker, made lucrative loans with other people’s money: to a Russian cargo plane linked to Vladmir Putin, to former Special Forces who ran a private army, and crucially to companies that were fraudulent or had no revenue.

When the company collapsed it exposed the revolving door between Westminster and big business and laid bare how David Cameron was allowed to lobby ministers for cash. In Greensill’s aftermath, Credit Suisse and Japan’s SoftBank are nursing billions of dollars in losses, a German bank is under criminal investigation, and thousands of jobs are at risk.

What Bad Blood did for Silicon Valley and The Smartest Guys in the Room did for Wall Street, The Pyramid of Lies will do for the world of shadow banking and supply chain finance. It is a world populated with some of the most outlandish characters in business and some of the most outrageous examples of excess. It is a story of greed and ambition that shines a light on the murky intersection between politics and business, where lavish fortunes can be made and lost.