Using Public Records to Identify Family and Business Connections in the Middle East

Family businesses are a fixture of Middle Eastern economies, accounting for over three-quarters of the private sector.

Follow these tips during your MENA investigation to ensure you have a complete picture of family ownership in the commercial network you are investigating.


Tracing Connections from an Iraqi Businessman to Sanctions Evasion by Saddam Hussein

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What are Arabic naming conventions?

Naming structures are key to identifying familial relationships. Children take their father’s last name, whereas women keep their surname. For example, Saddam Hussein’s wife is named Sajida Telfah. Children often take their father’s given name as a first middle name, and their grandfather’s given name as a second middle name.

How does one identify family members in Middle East records

Official voter registries in the Middle East provide insightful PII for analysts to disambiguate family members. Also, corporate records can provide enough information to identify family members. The Jordan Commercial Register lists shareholders of the company Yessar Sahloul and His Children — including Muataz Yessar Lutfi Sahloul. Based on the name of the company and the name of the shareholder, Muataz is likely Yessar’s son.

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