What is a Sanction List?

A sanction list is a list of individuals, organizations, and countries that are subject to economic and financial sanctions imposed by governments, international organizations, or other bodies. Sanction lists are used to restrict or prohibit certain financial transactions and other activities in order to achieve a variety of objectives, including combating terrorism, promoting human rights, and addressing security concerns. 

Sanction lists may include a variety of measures, such as asset freezes, travel bans, and prohibitions on financial transactions. Financial institutions and other regulated entities are required to comply with these measures and to conduct due diligence to ensure that they are not facilitating transactions or activities that are prohibited by sanctions.

Types of Sanction Lists

  • Terrorism
  • Human rights
  • Drug trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • Security-related
  • International
  • Weaponry

Common Sanction Lists

UN Sanction Lists

The United Nations (UN) sanction lists are set by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and all UN member states are bound by its decisions. According to the UNSC, these sanctions are imposed in response to a threat to international peace and security. 

EU Sanction Lists

The European Union (EU) sanctions are targeted at specific policies or activities, and not at a country or population. The majority of EU sanctions are asset freezes and travel bans targeted at individuals and entities. The EU also adopts economic and financial measures such as restrictions on trade, on banking services, or arms embargoes.

OFAC Sanction Lists

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that is responsible for administering and enforcing economic and trade sanctions. OFAC maintains a list of individuals, entities, and countries that are subject to financial sanctions or trade restrictions. Companies and organizations that are required to comply with OFAC regulations must conduct searches and screenings of these lists to ensure that they are not doing business with individuals or entities that are on the lists.

Other Sanction Lists

In addition to OFAC, EU, and UN sanction lists, there are other lists that companies and organizations may need to search and screen. These may include lists issued by other governments or international organizations, such as the following but are not exhaustive:

  • Australia - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • France - Ministère de l'Economie
  • Interpol Wanted List
  • Japan - Ministry of Finance Japan
  • South Africa - Targeted Financial Sanctions List
  • South Korea - Ministry of Strategy and Finance-Sanctions
  • Switzerland - State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
  • UK - Her Majesty’s Treasury Financial (HMT) Sanctions
  • UK - FCO UK Sanctions List


Purpose of Sanction Lists Screening

Sanction list search and screening is particularly important for financial institutions and other regulated entities, as they are required to comply with various anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) regulations. These regulations require financial institutions to conduct due diligence on their customers and to report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities. By conducting sanction list searches and screenings, financial institutions can ensure that they are not doing business with individuals or entities that are on the lists, which could potentially be involved in illegal activities such as money laundering or terrorist financing.

There are several ways that companies and organizations can conduct sanction list searches and screenings. One common method is to use software that is specifically designed for this purpose. These software programs typically offer a range of features, including the ability to search multiple lists at once, automatic updates to keep the lists current, and alerts when new individuals or entities are added to the lists.

Automate Sanction List Checks

Screening against sanction lists is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process that involves continuous monitoring and risk assessment. Financial institutions and other regulated entities are required to perform name screening on a regular basis to ensure that it remains accurate and up-to-date. This is often an intensive process for most companies.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help companies comply with regulatory requirements while automating the entire process. OneHypernet's all-in-one compliance solution has a robust case management system with ongoing monitoring, screened against a comprehensive database of global sanctions and watchlists data. For more information, book a demo with one of our experts today.