On March 2, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controlled issued cyber-related General License 1B, “Authorizing Certain Transactions with the Federal Security Service.” OFAC also updated its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List and amended three frequently asked questions 501-503 that relate to the new general license.
GL 1B authorizes transactions involving Russia’s Federal Security Service (aka Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti or FSB), that are otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13694, as amended by EO 13757; the Cyber-related Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 578; the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 544; or Section 224 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), as long as they involve the request or receipt of licenses or permits, that are issued or registered by the FSB for the use of information technology products in the Russian Federation, provided that the goods or services that are subject to Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730-774, are (i) authorized by the US Department of Commerce, and (ii) the license/permit fees do not exceed $5,000 in any calendar year. GL 1B is effective immediately, and replaces and supersedes in GL 1A, dated March 15, 2018, in its entirety.
OFAC issued FAQ 501 to provide a general overview of what GL 1B authorizes, while emphasizing that it does not authorize the provision of goods, technology or services to the Crimea region of Ukraine. FAQ 502 reiterates that sanctions remain in place, and US persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving property subject to US jurisdiction in which FSB has an interest, unless it is exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC. Finally, FAQ 503 clarifies that GL 1B does not authorize the export of hardware of software directly to the FSB or in instances where the FSB is the end user of the hardware and software.