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The Treasury Department accused Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez of acting as a front for a major drug trafficker as part of an enforcement action hitting 22 Mexican nationals and 42 business entities, including a casino and a company that operates bars and restaurants in Guadalajara. Are you doing business with any of them?

Sports figures often capitalize on their name and fame to open or back restaurants, clubs and bars. No different for Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez, who became globally popular as a defender on the famed Barcelona FC soccer club in Spain and as captain of the Mexican national team and professional club Atlas. That fame led the U.S. Treasury Department to name Marquez specifically when it announced sanctions against him and 21 others for using their businesses as a “front” for a powerful drug cartel.

Marquez denies any wrongdoing or connection with a drug network, but good luck finding a headline saying so. And regardless of guilt or innocence, these 22 individuals and 42 organizations are in fact being sanctioned by the U.S., with assets frozen and travel restricted. All that matters to anti-money laundering and due diligence teams is this:

Are we doing business with a sanctioned entity?

More and more AML, KYC and EDD teams are relying on monitoring alerts to identify new global sanctions that impact their business relationships. Sure, if you are dealing with a sports star’s restaurant, that’s probably already on your radar. But what about the “others” named in this sanction action? The best protection is a reliable monitoring process on your AML screening subjects that draws upon data refreshed daily. The sooner a risk manager can identify a possible exposure, the sooner that manager can take corrective action.

Let’s hope Marquez truly is operating his businesses properly and that he can clear his name. And while the names of the “others” may not make the headlines, rest assured they have been collected by reliable, comprehensive and refreshed sanctions data tools like WorldWatch Plus. And the monitoring alerts have be sent.

For more on this story, check: www.bloomberg.com

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