OpenCorporates identifiers now in OpenSanctions: A win for the open data ecosystem

Good news for users of the open data ecosystem!

OpenSanctions, the open database of sanctions targets and persons of interest, has started mapping sanctioned entities in its database back to company records in OpenCorporates – so their users can explore more detail about sanctioned companies. 

Everyone can use the OpenCorporates URL to view the related company information on the OpenCorporates website. But for OpenCorporates’ Bulk Data or API clients, it is even more powerful as you will now be able to easily integrate and analyse both datasets without entity resolution challenges – for example to power a knowledge graph with both sanctions and official information about the company from the official register. 

And it doesn’t stop there: as Open Ownership also links their data to the OpenCorporates’ dataset – information on beneficial ownership of companies can be quickly integrated too!

In this blog post, we’ll explore how open data about sanctioned entities and persons of interest helps business and society, and how this is just the latest enhancement of a wider open data ecosystem many have come to rely on.

How OpenSanctions is opening up access to sanctions data 

Global sanctions lists – as released by authorities in the US, EU, UK or Switzerland – constantly change. In the last few months alone for example, thousands of individuals and entities have been added following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Data on sanctioned entities and other persons of interests is critical for all kinds of organisations that need to manage regulatory and reputational risk. But the ability of wider society, including the thousands of SMEs that make up the global economy, to access sanctions data has historically been very limited. Much like legal entity data, sanctions data has traditionally been difficult to access at scale – typically available only as closed, pay-to-access data from large vendors. 

OpenSanctions was set up to overcome this challenge by creating an open database of individuals and entities who feature on sanctions or other persons of interest lists. At present, OpenSanctions consolidates and deduplicates data from hundreds of sources covering 240+ countries and territories.

“It was clear that investigators needed more material on persons of interest to do their research, but commercial databases priced journalists and small and medium-sized businesses out of their data”, says Friedrich Lindenberg, the Coordinator of OpenSanctions.

“We are trying to provide a building block of sanctions data and invite companies to take a stake in its maintenance so they do not have to build it themselves over and over again” says Friedrich. 

Whilst OpenSanctions is a separate upstart organisation, it has been modelled on OpenCorporates in a variety of important ways. For example: its data can be freely accessed record-by-record on the OpenSanctions website and at scale via API or in bulk format. Both datasets provide free access for those working for the public good – such as NGOs and journalists, but charge for commercial users wanting to integrate the data at scale in their platforms. 

Chris Taggart, our Founder, first demonstrates OpenCorporates to Friedrich in 2011

In both datasets, records are accompanied by detailed and transparent information on the provenance of the data, which is vital information – particularly in the sanctions space given how rapidly these lists can change and how they often differ widely.

A wide range of users benefit from this data, including:

  • Financial services firms
    Who need to screen their third parties for sanctions exposure during onboarding and on a continual basis – to ensure they don’t fall foul of international or country-specific sanctions.

  • Technology companies
    FinTechs and RegTechs aggregate open datasets to build new products and solutions that help their clients manage the risk of sanctions exposure.

  • Journalists
    Seeking to follow a lead into a potential sanctions exposure for an individual or entity – for example, a name found in a leak of documents like the Pandora Papers.

Joining the dots across the open data ecosystem

At time of writing, over 1,500 entities in the OpenSanctions database have been mapped to companies in our database – with the OpenCorporates ID and URL being made available in OpenSanctions.

Since this matching exercise has already been conducted, it makes it much easier for those looking to enrich the data they start with from OpenSanctions with the fundamental information about those companies – as per the official public data we collect.

Time to innovation is significantly reduced now that these critical open datasets are being mapped together – no matter whether you’re looking to build a solution to inform your company’s sanctions compliance programme or a journalist looking for leads for a story.

This joining of the dots between our databases is just the latest development in the evolution of an ecosystem of critical open datasets. 

Whether you’re looking to integrate data about legal entities, beneficial ownership or sanctions – high-quality and openly available datasets are being curated to help all.

And the more interconnected these datasets are, the greater their utility – and the easier they are to build solutions with.

“I believe we will see an infrastructure of building blocks of open data sources, including our sanctions data and OpenCorporates’ company data – as well as others like extractive resource data and property ownership data” Friedrich said. “These will be high quality and provenanced, and allow users to answer key questions like: ‘how closely am I linked to a certain company?’”

Want to enrich your OpenSanctions data with our company data?
Enquire about access to the OpenCorporates API or our Bulk Data.

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