Crimea-Region Sanctions

May 28, 2015

Exportation of Services and Software Necessary for Internet-Based Personal Communications
On May 22, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License Number 9 under its Ukraine-related sanctions, which authorizes the exportation or reexportation from the United States or by U.S. persons of services incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet to persons in the Crimea Region of Ukraine. General License Number 9 also authorizes the exportation of software designated EAR 99 under the Export Administration Regulations or classified as mass market software by the U.S. Department of Commerce (or foreign-origin software that would be similarly designated if it were of U.S.-origin), necessary to enable the provision of those services. Both the services and the software must be widely available to the public at no cost to qualify. Examples of Internet-based, personal communications provided by OFAC include instant messaging, chat and e-mail, social networking, web browsing and blogging. These activities were previously prohibited by Executive Order 13685.
Simultaneously with the license, OFAC issued Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 454, which clarifies that General License Number 9 authorizes exportation to persons identified on the Sectoral Sanctions Identification List (SSI List) as well as entities more than 50 percent owned by one or more SSI List persons that happen to be in the Crimea Region of Ukraine. The general license does not, however, authorize exportation with knowledge or reason to know that services or software are intended for any person whose property and interests in property are blocked. Nor does the license authorize the exportation of commercial-grade Internet connectivity services or telecommunications transmissions facilities, or web-hosting services for commercial endeavors or domain-name registration services.
General License Number 9 is consistent with licenses issued in numerous other sanctions regimes regarding public non-commercial communications.
OFAC Issues New FAQ 453 on Non-Commercial Personal Remittances To or From Crimea 
On May 7, OFAC issued FAQ 453 to clarify that General License 6, which authorizes the processing of certain noncommercial, personal remittances for individuals normally resident in the Crimea region of Ukraine. In the new FAQ, OFAC states that “U.S. depository institutions, U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S.-registered money transmitters are authorized to process noncommercial, personal remittances pursuant to General License 6 regardless of whether the originator or beneficiary is an individual who is a U.S. person,” provided the remittance meets the conditions of the license. This clarifies that a U.S. institution may be involved as an intermediary even if it is the sole U.S. party, because both remitter and beneficiary are non-U.S. persons.