Banks looking to freeze accounts belonging to Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi are being confounded because their software's 'fuzzy logic' - which helps identify typos and inaccurate translations - cannot cope with the huge variety of ways his name can be spelled.
Banks around the world have been asked by governments to freeze the assets of Gadhafi, as well as other members of his regime as the country slides into civil war.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the already difficult job of identifying accounts belonging to people on sanctions lists is being exacerbated by the array of alternative spellings that Arabic names can have.
The US Treasury Department provides 12 possible spellings for Moammar Gadhafi but language experts told the WSJ that there are actually more than 100 for the family name alone.
The fuzzy logic banks' systems use to help catch alternative spellings and typos comes up short when dealing with transliteration errors because Arabic names can be spelled in so many ways.
This has left institutions resorting to painstakingly manually sifting through client files.
Arabic Names Spell Trouble for Banks - WSJ