Sanctions are threatened penalties or punishments for disobeying a law, rule, or order. Many countries impose economic sanctions such as travel bans or trade embargos on other countries or specific citizens as punishment or to alter strategic decisions.

Frequently asked questions

What is a sanction check?

A sanctions check is a specialized search of government databases — such as those maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) — to identify individuals who are prohibited from certain activities or industries or may pose a risk to organizations if their requested transactions are allowed to proceed. These checks are often required in regulated industries, such as financial services and healthcare.

Who can impose international sanctions?

It depends on the nature of the sanction. For example, the UN Security Council can impose sanctions that apply to all UN member states, while organizations such as OFAC can create sanctions for specific geographic areas or individuals. Regulatory bodies in other countries can also enact their own per-person or per-location sanctions.

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