Google’s Russian subsidiary to file for bankruptcy after bank account seizure

May 18 (Reuters) – Google’s Russian subsidiary is considering filing for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account, making it impossible to continue operations, a Google spokesman said on Wednesday.

Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) Google has been under pressure in Russia for months for not removing content Moscow deems illegal and for restricting access to some Russian media on YouTube, but the Kremlin has not so far not blocked access to its platforms. .

“The seizure by Russian authorities of Google Russia’s bank account has rendered the operation of our office in Russia untenable, including the employment and payment of Russian-based employees, the payment of suppliers and vendors, and compliance with ‘other financial obligations,’ a Google spokesperson said.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

“Google Russia has issued a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy.”

A TV station owned by a sanctioned Russian businessman said in April bailiffs seized 1 billion rubles ($15 million) from Google over its failure to restore access to his YouTube account, but it is the first time the US tech giant has said its entire bank account 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 database of the Federal Service of Judicial Officers of Russia has identified two seizures since mid-March, without specifying the amounts, as well as other fines and enforcement costs.

The service confirmed that it had seized Google’s assets and property.

A note posted to Russia’s official Fedresurs registry on Wednesday said the Google subsidiary was “submitting a notice of intent to declare itself insolvent (bankruptcy)”.

“As of March 22, 2022, it foresees its own bankruptcy and inability to meet its monetary obligations, demands the payment of severance benefits and (or) compensation for staff working or previously working under an employment contract, and (or ) the obligation to make obligatory payments within the prescribed period,” the note reads.

FREE SERVICES TO STAY

Google, which suspended the vast majority of its business operations in Russia following Moscow’s dispatch of tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on Feb. 24, said its free services including Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps , Android and Play, would remain available for Russian users.

Russia said on Tuesday it was not considering blocking Google’s YouTube, despite repeated threats and fines, acknowledging that such a move would likely hurt Russian users and should therefore be avoided. Read more

Rostelecom (RTKM.MM) chief executive Mikhail Oseevskiy said on Wednesday that Google was operating normally in the country, including all of its servers, TASS news agency reported.

In December, Russia imposed a 7.2 billion ruble charge on Google for what Moscow said was a repeated failure to remove content that Russia deems illegal, the first revenue-based sanction in such business in Russia.

This fine increased by 506 million rubles due to enforcement costs, according to data from bailiffs.

The turnover of the Russian subsidiary in 2021 was 134.3 billion rubles, according to the Spark database of Russian companies of the Interfax news agency.

($1 = 63.9570 rubles)

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Reuters reporting; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle, Guy Faulconbridge and David Clarke

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Comments are closed.