What is a Sanction Search?

A sanction search (also known as a sanction check) is used by companies to see if a candidate has had any adverse media attention or has affiliations with any illegal entities.

For example, an international sanction check will detect if a candidate is suspected to be affiliated with terrorism, animal rights, money laundering, drug trafficking, arms dealing, war crimes, white collar fraud, or other illegal activities.

These checks extend to:

  1. Political Exposed Person (PEP)
  2. Global Sanctions
  3. Global Financial Regulators
  4. Global Law Enforcement
  5. Global Adverse Media
  6. Disqualified Directors (UK Only)
  7. Insolvency (UK & Ireland)

What are the sources of a sanction search?

A typical sanction search will obtain data from thousands of sources, including (but not limited to):

  • National Public Authorities
  • Source Media
  • International sanction regimes, enforced by: United Nations, European Union, Her Majesty’s Treasury in the UK, and the United States Office of Financial Actions Control.
  • Regulatory penalties, imposed by any financial body, including: UK Financial Services Authority, the Central Bank of Ireland, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) of Luxembourg, the Authority for the Financial Markets of the Netherlands, and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
  • National and International criminal investigations by law enforcement agencies, including: Revenue & Customs, justice departments, prosecutors, police or any other agency such as Interpol or the FBI)
  • Global newspapers, news sites or other media involved in financial crime

What will a sanction search tell you?

A sanction search will allow you to determine if an individual is prohibited from certain activities or industries; thus, protecting your company’s reputation and preventing adverse media attention.

In most cases, a sanction search is used to uncover any financial misdemeanours (e.g. trading under an insolvent company).

How to review the results of a sanction search

It is up to you and your organisation what you do with results from a sanction search.

In some cases, it is obvious. For example, if are hiring for a financial director, you are unlikely to hire them if they have been involved in financial fraud.

The question to ask is “would this be a problem for your company?”. For example, would hiring a child of a member of parliament present a conflict of interest?

Ruling out multiple results/profiles

If more than one profile appears, you will need to rule them out:

  1. Check photograph (for likeness, age difference, etc)
  2. Identifiers. Use the passport, driving license, birth certificate or other identity documents to eliminate matches.
  3. Double check:
    • Name spellings
    • Middle names
    • Place of birth
    • Visas (could the candidate have travelled to a country mentioned in the match?)
  4. When was the profile last updated? Check the date and determine whether the information makes sense. For example, if a profile states your candidate was involved in corporate fraud in 2005, but your candidate was born in 1990, then its unlikely that profile is a match.
  5. Double check the candidate’s references. For example, if a profile match comes up with someone who was in prison for fraud between 2010 to 2015, does your candidate’s employment/educational references confirmed they were not?
  6. Examine source links for date matches. For example, your candidate got married in 1977, but your candidate was born in 1970.
  7. Internet. Could your search benefit from an internet search? Or social media screening?

Using EBC Global for your sanctions search

EBC Global provide two systems that will help you with your sanctions search. These are Employment Check Lite and Employment Check Pro.

Both these systems allow you to perform a sanction search in a compliant and automated way.

By entering just a few details, you can obtain a clear and concise sanctions check, with information obtained from thousands of databases; allowing you to make informed decisions.

To learn how EBC Global can help you with your sanction search (as well as other background checks), contact us today to book a demo.

For UK employers, there is information publicly available on the government website, such as The UK sanctions list, which provides under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.