Google's Russian subsidiary to file for bankruptcy

Posted 19 May, 2022

The Russian subsidiary of the American giant Google, whose bank account has been seized by the Russian authorities, has announced its intention to file for bankruptcy but will continue to provide its free services in the country.

"Google Russia has published a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy," confirmed a spokesperson for the group in a message sent to AFP on Thursday.

"The seizure by Russian authorities of Google Russia's bank account prevents our office in Russia from operating, employing and paying our employees there, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial obligations", he explained.

"People in Russia rely on our services for access to quality information and we will continue to maintain free services such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android, and Play," he said.

The American giant has been under pressure since the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

On April 21, a Russian court fined the group 11 million rubles (more than 126,000 euros at the rate at the time) for failing to remove "banned" content about the offensive.

Russia promised retaliation in early April after the YouTube account of Russia's lower house of parliament was shut down. Many pro-Kremlin media channels and Russian officials were also blocked there.

The Russian telecoms policeman, Roskomnadzor, accused Google and YouTube of "terrorist" activities in March, foreshadowing a possible blocking of the site in Russia, like Twitter, Instagram and many independent media have been since the offensive in Ukraine.

The Russian authorities have strongly reinforced the legal arsenal to control communication on the conflict, threatening up to 15 years in prison for those who disseminate "false information" about the Russian army.

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