Financial sanctions

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Why financial sanctions matter

The complexities of knowing who your trade partners are and whether they might be covered by sanctions are growing rapidly as are the size of the fines for breaching trade sanctions.

Global restrictions

Keeping pace with restrictions on where or whom you can trade with can be tough. And the volume of regulation governing trade finance is growing, as governments clamp down on money laundering, terrorism and organised crime.

Financial sanctions change quickly often as political tensions flare. Meanwhile, the number of individuals and companies covered by government trading restrictions can run into the thousands.

And the penalties for breaching international sanctions can be severe some firms have been fined hundreds of millions of dollars by US regulators.

At Nordea, we have detailed processes for capturing potential violations of sanctions, using complex matching algorithms to ensure that transactions and customers are not included on official sanction lists (OFAC, EU, UN). We have dedicated task groups and constantly train. We can even check whether potential trade partners are affiliated with companies subject to sanctions.

Our prudent approach helps you grow your business globally while managing the risks associated with international trade.

For guidance on the types of sanctions that may affect international trade, please see the information below. This list is not exhaustive information, and Nordea cannot accept any liability for the completeness or accuracy of the information.

For comprehensive updated information we refer to the information provided by the UN Security Council, EU and US (links quoted below).

Sanctions - which countries / Commodities

Although the sanction lists are specific in terms of persons, companies and commodities they are primarily focused against certain countries. See for example the list of OFAC Sanctions programs: For detailed information on sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, EU and US, please see below. Note also that there may exist local sanctions.

Sanctions against certain persons and companies

Shipping lines

As an example the UN Security Council and the EU have decided to impose sanctions on:

  • Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its subsidiaries
  • Irano Hind Shipping Company,
  • IRISL Benelux NV
  • South Shipping Line Iran (SSL), and
  • HDS Lines (and its subsidiaries)

Nordea will not be able to handle a transaction that indicates that the goods have been shipped with one of the above mentioned shipping lines (as well as others that may be subject to sanctions) or in a container owned by any of them.

The owner of a sea container can be located via the container prefix. See for example:


Both are free of charge to use, but do require sign up.

Other persons / Companies / Commodities

Information regarding sanctioned persons, companies, commodities and countries are available at:




If you have questions in this respect you are welcome to contact your local Nordea Trade Finance department.