About this project

OpenSanctions is an international database of persons and companies of political, criminal, or economic interest.

The project combines the sanctions lists, databases of politically exposed persons, and other information about persons in the public interest into a single, easy-to-use dataset. The code and methodology used to make it are distributed for free.

This makes it easy to:

  • Cross-check databases for conflicts of interests and signs of illicit activity.
  • Screen potential customers and partners in international dealings.
  • Track political conflicts and compare national sanctions policies.
  • Integrate the sanctions and persons of interest graph into existing data products.

The rationale

Collecting persons of interest data is a labour intensive process: data users need to scrape data from dozens of sources, then parse partial and sometimes incorrect information about nationalities, birth dates and identifiers. De-duplicating common entries across many data sources poses another time-consuming challenge.

This creates unnecessary and duplicative work for all users of persons-of-interest data, whether they are fintech/regtech technologists, investigative journalists, academics or others.

We believe that the solution to this is to establish a data commons, an open resource that provides high-quality, up-to-date data, is open to feedback and set up to provide a long-term solution for data sourcing.


The development of OpenSanctions is coordinated by Friedrich Lindenberg. From 2017 to 2019, maintenance of the crawlers was assumed by Tarashish Mishra at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. You can see a list of those who have contributed crawlers on Github.

We'd also like to thank Marc da Costa, Paul May and Tony Bowden for their tireless advice on the project.


From September 2021 to Feburary 2022, this project received financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) under the grant identifier 01IS21S48. The full responsibility for the content of this publication remains with its authors.

Got more questions? Join the Slack chat to ask questions and get support. You can also book an hour of consulting time to discuss technical questions with the team.