A “weak AKA” is a term used by OFAC for a relatively broad or generic alias that may generate a large volume of false hits.  Weak AKAs include nicknames, noms-de-guerre, and unusually common acronyms. Weak AKAs include nicknames, noms-de-guerre, and unusually common acronyms.  OFAC includes these AKAs because, based on information available to it, the sanctions targets refer to themselves, or are referred to, by these names.  As a result, these AKAs may be useful for identification purposes, particularly in confirming a possible “hit” or “match” triggered by other identifier information.  Realizing, however, the large number of false hits that these names may generate, OFAC qualitatively distinguishes them from other AKAs by designating them as weak.  OFAC has instituted procedures that attempt to make this qualitative review of aliases as objective as possible. In the TXT and PDF versions of the SDN List, weak AKAs are encapsulated in double-quotes within the AKA listing: For example: ALLANE, Hacene (a.k.a. ABDELHAY, al-Sheikh; a.k.a. AHCENE, Cheib; a.k.a. “ABU AL-FOUTOUH”; a.k.a. “BOULAHIA”; a.k.a. “HASSAN THE OLD”); DOB 17 Jan 1941; POB El Menea, Algeria (individual). See: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/weak_strong_alias.aspx. OFAC’s regulations do not explicitly require any specific screening regime.  Financial institutions and others must make screening choices based on their circumstances and compliance approach.  As a general matter, though, OFAC does not expect that persons will screen for weak AKAs, but expects that such AKAs may be used to help determine whether a “hit” arising from other information is accurate. 

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