The Ins and Outs of AML Sanctions

Regulatory measures play a key role in ensuring the integrity of financial systems. One such regulatory framework is Anti-Money Laundering (AML), which aims to prevent and detect illicit financial activities. Among the AML tools, sanctions stand out as a strong way to make sure everyone follows the rules. Let's dive into the basics of AML sanctions - what they are, the different types, and why it's important to get the basics right for compliance.

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January 23, 2024

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What is an AML sanction?

AML sanctions are like financial penalties. Governments and global bodies use them to slow down financial deals with individuals, companies, or even entire countries involved in money laundering, terrorism funding, or other bad activities. These sanctions act as a warning, telling people not to do bad things with their money and protecting the global money system from being misused.

Four types of sanctions

  • Asset Freeze: Think of this as putting a lock on someone's money. When people or companies are involved in bad money business, freezing their money stops them from using it.
  • Travel Bans: This is like telling someone they can't come in. People on the sanctions list can't go to specific countries, making it hard for them to do business.
  • Arms Embargoes: This sanction stops the trade and transfer of weapons, military gear, or related things to certain countries or groups, preventing fights from getting worse.
  • Trade Restrictions: Trade restrictions put the brakes on buying and selling for those doing bad financial stuff, making it hard for them to keep going.

Most common sanctions

Freezing assets is a tactic commonly employed by governments and global bodies due to its swift and effective impact on those involved in money laundering or terrorism funding, affecting them where it hurts the most - their wallets.

Who can face sanctions?

Sanctions can be imposed on individuals, companies, or entire nations. Individuals may face sanctions for their involvement in money laundering, terrorism funding, or other illicit financial activities. Companies can be sanctioned if they facilitate or benefit from such activities. Entire nations may face sanctions for activities such as nuclear weapons development, human rights abuses, political instability, support for terrorism, or aggressive actions against neighboring nations. Sanctions serve as a means for the international community to express disapproval and discourage such behavior.

Distinguishing AML from sanctions

While AML and sanctions are part of the same regulatory framework, they serve different purposes. AML focuses on preventing and detecting money laundering and terrorism funding within financial institutions. Sanctions, on the other hand, are punitive measures imposed on those already involved in illicit activities, aiming to disrupt their financial operations and prevent further participation in the global economy.

How Dotfile can help you with AML sanctions?

Dotfile provides end-to-end business verification including screening and monitoring of AML sanctions on companies and individuals. Beyond sanctions, Dotfile's capabilities extend to broader AML screening, covering other lists like Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), Warning, Adverse Media, and Fitness and Probity. By using Dotfile, your team saves time and maintains continuous vigilance, being alerted to potential new risks in individual or business profiles. Dotfile provides a suite of services to automate KYB and AML procedures, including checks, document and video verification, AML screening and monitoring, risk scoring, and more for businesses.


Compliance with AML sanctions is not just a legal must; it's key to keeping the global financial system in check. In business verification, AML plays an essential role in reducing fraud risk and building trust. Staying alert and adapting to new rules is key to maintaining a secure and robust financial system. Dotfile helps businesses streamline their compliance operations, reduce risk, and build trust. Book a demo to see how we can help you.

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