Sanctions Act

What does the Sanctions Act mean?

The Sanctions Act states that sanctions issued by the Netherlands, other countries or international organizations must be complied with. Sanctions are imposed in response to violations of international law or human rights. Sanctions can be imposed against countries, persons and/or organizations.

Sanctions may include a prohibition on doing business with, the freezing of assets, the provision of funds to provide financial services. Several countries have their own list with sanctioned persons and organizations. The sanction lists are updated daily to monthly by those countries. It is therefore important to check periodically your relations (including customers, suppliers and partners). Naturally, you maintain new relationships against the applicable sanction lists. More than 160,000 names are mentioned on the US, EU, UK, AUS, NL and UN sanctions lists. Sometimes these names are also aliases for the same person or organization.


Who must comply with the Sanctions Act?

The Sanctions Act must be complied with by all organizations in the Netherlands (and abroad). This is even more important for organizations that do business with foreign companies and individuals. You are not expected to do business with any person, country or organization that is on a sanctions list. In order to comply with the Sanctions Act, you must record how you do this. You determine the frequency of the check yourself. Hereby, you take into account the type of customers and the industry in which you do business.


Against which sanction lists should you check?

Every organization in the Netherlands must in any case check its relations against the sanction lists of the Netherlands, the European Union and the United Nations. Does your organization have a branch in another country in addition to a branch in the Netherlands? Then you must also comply with the sanctions lists of that country. Most Dutch organizations must comply with the US, EU, UK, NL and UN sanctions lists.


Should I also search for fuzzy names?

Yes, you should also check for fuzzy names. A slight spelling difference in names can give different results. For example, your customer's name is: Alex Lukashenko. If you search for his name in the sanction lists, for example with CTRL+F, you will not find anything. But your client's name is very similar with Alexander Lukashenko. He is the president of Belarus and is on most of the sanctions lists. That is why you should also search for fuzzy names. Those are names that resemble the original names.


What to do if your relationship is on a sanction list?

If your relationship is on a sanction list, you must report this to the supervisory authority and freeze any assets. For legal support and advice, please contact our partner BennikAmar. They are based in Amsterdam and are fully specialised in economic sanctions, export controls and other trade law issues. 


Screening sanction lists

Periodically manually screening all your relations against the various sanctions lists is very cumbersome and time-consuming. With the Sanctioncheck you can quickly and easily check whether names of persons and organizations are on a sanctions list. The Sanctioncheck checks against the US, EU, UK, AUS, NL and UN sanctions lists. With a possible hit, you can easily determine whether it is a false positive or a true hit.