People, companies, vessels and securities in OpenSanctions are associated with various forms of business risk: they could be designated on a sanctions list, linked to a crime, or be subject to enhanced scrutiny because they hold public office.
In order to determine the nature of the risk linked to an entity in OpenSanctions, you can rely on various forms of tags that detail the reason for the entity's inclusion in the database. This page explains how to find what you are looking for, and make sense of what you find.
Topics are used to classify entities and indicate why they are included in a dataset. They can be used to determine the level and type of risk they represent. Some key topics include:
sanction: Sanctioned entities are companies, people or other things that have been designated by a government in order to prohibit specific interactions with them.
debarment: Debarred entities are companies that have been excluded from public procurement, often because they previously committed fraud in their execution of a government contract.
role.pep: Politically exposed persons currently or previously held a position of political influence. We document our global coverage and data methodology regarding PEPs.
role.rca: Relatives and close associates are family members and key business associates of politically exposed persons. They are often used as nominees or front-people when a PEP attempts to hide illicit financial gains.
poi: Persons of interest are people where there is a public interest case for closer scrutiny, but who do not meet common definitions of a politically-exposed person and who are not sanctioned.
For a full list of topics, see the data dictionary.
Politically-exposed persons can be sub-divided into different sub-types, depending on the level or branch of government they are active in. This information is also represented in OpenSanctions using
topics. For more context on how we collect and structure PEP information, see our introduction page.
Basic information about a PEP position is represented on the Person entity itself:
role.peptopic in their topics property.
More detail is available about the positions. This can be used to exclude certain positions based on the risk policy of your use case. This data is applied consistently when available in structured form, so that the same policies can be applied across jurisdictions as needed.
A Person is used to describe the politician themselves. When using the nested entity representation in the OpenSanctions API or the
targets.nested.json format, each person entity's
positionOccupancies property refers to all the instances of this person occupying PEP positions.
startDate- when this person started occupying this position
endDate- when this person left the position
status- whether the position is currently occupied. See methodology and possible values.
The Position entity classifies the nature of the position itself. A position is always specific to a given jurisdiction, e.g. Member of parliament in India is distinct from the Member of parliament position in Kenya. Position entities are further classified by the following properties:
subnationalAreaproperty for subnational and local positions.
|Key PEP categories||Role||Jurisdiction|
|National head of government, head of state (President, prime minister, queen)|
|National court judges, prosecutors|
|Security and intelligence services including militaty, police|
|Central Bank leadership|
|Intergovernmental organizations generally|
|e.g. Member of European Parliament|
|e.g. Member of Board of Governors of the World Bank|
|Regional/sub-national head of government (Governor, Premier)|
|Regional/sub-national court judges|
|State-owned enterprises, public entities, agencies reporting to national government|
|State-owned enterprises, public entities, agencies reporting to regional government|
|Political party leadership|
|Local head of government (Mayor)|
|Local executive (e.g. mayoral committee member)|
The topic representing the greatest influence is used when a position might apply to multiple roles or jurisdictions, e.g. executive is used when both legislative and executive apply.