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News

Screening processes can reveal true customer identities.

Datanomic : 21 April, 2008  (Technical Article)
Known terrorists, criminals and unidentifiable individuals found in survey of client data by anti-money laundering specialist Datanomic, proving that many companies often have no idea who they are dealing with.
The majority of UK organisations are operating blind when it comes to knowing the true identify of the customers, and continue to unknowingly do business with terrorists, criminals and fraudsters, according to Anti-Money Laundering specialists, Datanomic. The company has screened close to one billion customer records to date, and found that in some instances the identity of an individual was an exact match to a terrorist or criminal - with no alias or false identity being used at all. As a result, Datanomic is calling for UK organisations to follow the lead of the financial services industry by regularly screening employees, contractors, suppliers and associates against Sanctions and OFAC lists.

"Certain industries, such as airlines, telecommunications and the legal sector, need to be more vigilant than others due to the nature of their businesses," said Dr Jonathan Pell, CEO of Datanomic Ltd. "The financial services industry is compelled to screen their client lists under current anti money laundering legislation. However, the United Nation's Global Compact advises all corporations, not just financial services companies, to systematically screen their employees, contractors, suppliers and business relationships for undesirable, unethical or socially irresponsible elements. We believe this should be adopted as best practice by the UK industry in general. All of the issues surrounding Know Your Customer legislation are equally relevant to many companies outside of the financial sector."

Earlier this year, Datanomic screened the UK's Companies House register of companies, company directors and secretaries against World-Check's global database of high risk individuals and organisations. The project involved screening 6.8 million names of active UK companies and their Directors and Secretaries using Datanomic's Sanctions & PEP Screening solution against World-Check's database of some 750,000 high risk individuals and businesses, including PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons), money launderers, fraudsters, terrorists, sanctioned entities and twelve other high risk categories.

The results were staggering with 3,994 exact matches of high risk individuals found to be registered in the UK. Datanomic uncovered 1,504 disqualified directors running current UK companies despite the existence of the Register of Disqualified Directors. Many of these Disqualified Directors are currently operating companies from prison. The screening also revealed 154 individuals involved in financial crime, 13 individuals who are either wanted by Interpol for terrorism or associated with terrorist groups and activities, 37 narcotics traffickers, nearly 1,000 domestic and foreign Politically Exposed Persons and hundreds of individuals from many other high risk categories.

"The UK Proceeds of Crime Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act make it a crime for any UK organisation to knowingly or unknowingly aid in the funding of crime. Ignorance is no defence. Yet how many UK companies are actually taking this legislation seriously?" added Pell. "This is a fundamental part of managing risk, yet we find time and time again, that many organisations are operating blind when it comes to the true identity of their customers, employees and suppliers."
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