The Russian subsidiary of US tech giant Google said Thursday it will file for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account following a series of spats with Moscow.
Google has been under increasing pressure in Russia for several months and even more so after the start of President Vladimir Putin’s military campaign in Ukraine at the end of February.
“Google Russia has published a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy,” a spokesperson for the company told AFP.
“The Russian authorities’ seizure of Google Russia’s bank account has made it untenable for our Russia office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based employees, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial obligations,” the company said.
It however said it will continue to provide free services “such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android and Play” to customers in Russia.
In late April, a Russian court fined Google 11 million rubles ($135,000 at the time) for ignoring the state regulator’s orders to remove contentious YouTube videos about the Kremlin’s military operation in Ukraine.
The tech giant also infuriated Russian officials by blocking the lower house of parliament’s official media channel and deleting the YouTube channels of many pro-Kremlin media.
As part of efforts to control the information available to a domestic audience, Russian courts have already banned Facebook and Instagram, calling them “extremist” organisations, as well as Twitter.