Google’s local unit is unable to pay its employees, suppliers and vendors in Russia following the seizure, the company said at FinancialTimes, and had issued a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy. The company will continue to offer its search, YouTube and other free services in Russia, he told the newspaper.
Relations between Google and Russian authorities, already strained before the Kremlin’s order to invade Ukraine, soured after the company refused to bow to pressure from Moscow to remove content related to the conflict. Google’s local unit was fined 11 million rubles ($173,000) in April for failing to remove Ukrainian videos from YouTube, which Moscow called “prohibited content”, according to the FT.
“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 told the FT.
Google did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According Reuters, the database of the Federal Service of Judicial Officers of Russia shows two seizures linked to Google since mid-March. The service confirmed to the newswire that it had seized Google’s assets and property.
The official register of Russia, Fedresurs, said that Google had planned to file for bankruptcy as early as March 22, due to “the impossibility of meeting its monetary obligations”.
Google closed most of its operations in Russia after the invasion began and moved many of its employees out of the country, it confirmed to Reuters. He already had stopped selling advertising in Russia, including search ads and YouTube, and bans Russian state-sponsored media from YouTube in Europe, including the RT and Sputnik channels.