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Google’s Russian subsidiary intends to declare bankruptcy after bank accounts seized

A note sent to Russia’s official financial registry described Google’s intention to file for bankruptcy

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Google's Russian subsidiary intends to declare bankruptcy after bank accounts seized

Google’s Russian branch is intending to declare bankruptcy, according to a Reuters report, stating that the corporation can no longer sustain the division. In 2021, the Russian division recorded revenue of 134.3 billion roubles (about USD 2.086 billion) and employed over 100 people.

“The confiscation of Google Russia’s bank account by Russian authorities has made it unsustainable for our Russia office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based workers, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial commitments,” a Google representative said. “Google Russia has announced its intention to file for bankruptcy.”

Google discontinued ad sales in Russia in March, just after Russia invaded Ukraine. Google-owned YouTube also attempted to limit advertisements on channels controlled by Russian state-backed media, and then altogether disabled these channels.

In December 2021, Russia fined Google 7.2 billion roubles ($98 million USD) for failing to remove unlawful information—information considered illegal in Russia—from its websites. The penalties amounted to around 8% of Google’s revenue in Russia.

Furthermore, according to Reuters, a Russian TV channel claimed that officials seized 1 billion roubles (about $15 million USD) from Google in April when the company refused to restore access to the channel’s YouTube account. 

A note sent to Russia’s official financial registry, which Reuters obtained, described Google’s intention to file for bankruptcy, saying: “Since March 22, 2022, it foresees its own bankruptcy and inability to fulfill its monetary obligations, demands to pay severance payments and (or) the remuneration of staff working or previously working under an employment contract, and (or) the obligation to make mandatory payments within the prescribed period.”

So far, it looks like Google is the only major technology corporation to declare bankruptcy in Russia as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. Other firms, such as Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, have ceased operations in Russia but have not declared bankruptcy. Buyk, a Russian-backed food delivery business, filed for bankruptcy in March as a result of economic sanctions imposed on the nation. After more than 30 years in Russia, McDonald’s announced on Monday that it will depart the country and sell its fast-food locations.

Although Russia did not outright prohibit Google’s services, as it did with Meta’s Facebook and Instagram. Google has stated that its free services will remain available throughout the nation.

“People in Russia rely on our services to access quality information, and we will continue to provide free services like Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android, and Play,” a Google representative stated.

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