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May 18 (Reuters) – Google’s Russian subsidiary plans to file for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account, making it impossible to carry out operations, a Google spokesman said on Wednesday.
Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) Google has been under pressure in Russia for months for failing to remove content that Moscow deems illegal and for restricting access to some Russian media on YouTube, but so far the Kremlin has not blocked access to its platforms. .
“The seizure by the Russian authorities of the Google Russia bank account has made the operation of our office in Russia, including the employment and payment of employees based in Russia, the payment of suppliers and vendors, and the fulfillment of other obligations, unsustainable. financials,” a Google spokesman said.
“Google Russia has published a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy.”
A TV channel owned by a sanctioned Russian businessman said in April that bailiffs had seized 1 billion rubles ($15 million) from Google for failing to restore access to his YouTube account, but this is the first time the US tech giant says its bank account in its entirety has been seized. read more
Google did not immediately confirm whether it was the seizure of those funds that led to its intention to file for bankruptcy or whether other seizures had occurred.
The Russian Federal Marshals Service database listed two seizures since mid-March, without specifying the amounts, as well as other fines and enforcement fees.
The service confirmed that it had seized Google assets and property.
A note published in Russia’s official register Fedresurs on Wednesday said the Google subsidiary was: “sending a notice of intent to file for insolvency (bankruptcy).”
“Since March 22, 2022, it foresees its own bankruptcy and inability to meet its monetary obligations, demands for payment of compensation and (or) the remuneration of the personnel that works or previously worked under an employment contract, and (or ) the obligation to make obligatory payments within the indicated period,” the note said.
Google, which halted the vast majority of its business operations in Russia after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24, said its free services, including Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android and Play, would remain. Available for Russian users.
Russia said on Tuesday that it did not plan to block Google’s YouTube, despite repeated threats and fines, acknowledging that such a move would likely cause Russian users to suffer and therefore should be avoided. read more
Rostelecom (RTKM.MM) Chief Executive Mikhail Oseevskiy said on Wednesday that Google was operating normally in the country, including all its servers, the TASS news agency reported.
In December, Russia handed Google a 7.2 billion ruble charge for what Moscow said was a repeated failure to remove content that Russia considers illegal, the first revenue-based penalty in such a case in Russia.
That fine increased by 506 million rubles due to an execution fee, bailiffs’ data showed.
The Russian subsidiary’s revenue in 2021 was 134.3 billion rubles, the Interfax news agency’s Spark database of Russian companies showed.
($1 = 63.9570 rubles)
Information from Reuters; Edited by Elaine Hardcastle, Guy Faulconbridge and David Clarke
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