Google’s Russian subsidiary files for bankruptcy after bank accounts seized

May 18 (Reuters) – Google’s Russian unit plans to file for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank accounts, a Google spokesman said on Wednesday, leaving it unable to pay employees and suppliers, but including search and YouTube ‘s free service will continue to operate.

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) The unit has been under pressure in Russia for months for failing to remove content Moscow deems illegal and restricting access to some Russian media on YouTube, but the Kremlin has so far not blocked access to the company’s service.

“Russian authorities confiscated Google Russia bank accounts, which has rendered our Russia office unable to function properly, including hiring and paying employees in Russia, paying suppliers and suppliers, and fulfilling other financial obligations,” a Google spokesperson said.

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“Google Russia has issued 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 its YouTube account, but it was the For the first time, the US tech giant said its entire bank account has been more

Google did not immediately confirm whether the seizure of the funds led to its intended bankruptcy filing, or whether other seizures occurred.

The database of the Russian Federal Bailiff Service lists two seizures since mid-March, but did not specify the amounts and other fines and enforcement costs.

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

Google has moved many of its employees out of Russia since Moscow sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Ukraine on February 24. But some employees remained.

The Google subsidiary intends to declare bankruptcy and that the company expects to “be unable to meet its monetary obligations” since March 22, including severance pay, compensation for current and former employees, a note published Wednesday in Russia’s official registry Fedresur said. And timely mandatory payments.

Free accommodation service

Google, which has suspended ad sales and most other commercial operations in Russia, said its free services, including Gmail, Maps, Android and Play, will remain available to Russian users.

Russia said on Tuesday that it had no plans to block Google’s YouTube despite repeated threats and fines, acknowledging that such a move could cost Russian users and should be more

Russian Telecom (RTKM.MM) Google is operating normally in the country, including all its servers, Chief Executive Mikhail Oseevskiy said on Wednesday, TASS reported.

Russia paid Google 7.2 billion rubles in December, and Moscow said it repeatedly failed to remove content Russia deems illegal, the first time Russia has imposed revenue-based penalties in such cases.

Bailiff figures show that the fine was increased by 506 million rubles due to enforcement fees.

According to Interfax’s Spark database of Russian companies, Google’s Russian subsidiary will have revenue of 134.3 billion rubles in 2021.

Alphabet said last month that Russia accounted for 1 percent of its revenue last year, or about $2.6 billion.

(1 USD = 63.9570 rubles)

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Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle, Guy Faulconbridge, David Clarke and Barbara Lewis

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