World Check being sued over database of personal information

By Christine Duhaime | February 4th, 2017

A number of persons and organizations are allegedly preparing to sue Thomson Reuters, the organization that runs World Check for wrongly listing them in a database as a financial crime risk. World Check created (apparently without informed consent at least under Canadian law), an online global database that purports to provide anti-money laundering, sanctions and counter-terrorist financing mitigation advice by selling, for a fee, the personal and other information of people.

According to news reports, World Check listed a nine-month-old baby as a politically exposed person even though the baby did not have a bank account, was not opening one anytime soon and lacked the legal capacity to access financial services in any event.

In a second incident, Finsbury Park Mosque in London reached a settlement with Thomson Reuters for $12,000 after allegedly being listed as a risk on World Check.

Following those reports, others who have learned that they are on the list, have contacted lawyers in the UK to sue for damages (presumably for defamation and reputation damage) and to be removed from the database as a risk.

Databases and so-called banks of personal information that purport to provide financial crime advice are used by some financial institutions to vet persons prior to on-boarding them. They cause financial inclusion problems by facilitating decisions of bankers to deny bank accounts to people, charities and organizations without the latter being aware of the reasons pursuant to which they were denied financial services.

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