Sunday, July 9, 2023


Commentators covering the difficulty in transliterating names in the Arabic language into English, using our Latin or Roman alphabet, have long noted that there is often no single exact equivalent, citing the fact that there are 30 different correct spellings of the word Muhammed. Considering the potential threats posed by terrorist financing in the region, and the possible regulatory sanctions which Banks in the EU and North America face when they unwittingly onboard a terrorist financier, reducing the risk that you accept an individual who later is identified as a major player for Hamas, ISIS, or some other specially-designated global terrorist organization, allow me to make a suggestion.

If I was a director of compliance at an international bank that regularly must conduct due diligence on new clients from the Middle East, irrespective of any English equivalent name on their passport. I would employ a two-barrelled investigative approach:

(1) Run the official passport photograph, and any others you find in your online search, through a good Facial Recognition software platform. I suggest one that has its own proprietary image library (e.g.  Facepoint).

(2) Then, take your newly-confirmed identity, and put it through an effective AML/CFT program that features Machine Learning and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI). Use one that your have had prior experience with, and which you personally know gets the job done.( e.g. SymphonyAI Sensa-NetReveal). 

(3) Now, review all the data and information you have obtained from your routine due diligence investigation, and from (1) and (2) above, and make your, now educated, onboard decision. You have either ruled out your new bank customer as a risk, or have declined to accept him or her, based upon what is as close to a foolproof method as a compliance officer can expect to have.


Note: I am not affiliated with, nor have I accepted compensation from, either of the two companies listed above, but as an independent observer, I believe that I have an obligation to my readers to suggest  effective AML products which are out there in the marketplace.

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