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    Wednesday, June 28, 2023

    Russian Court Slam Additional $47 million Fine on Google

    A Russian court has fined Alphabet's Google RUB 4 billion for failing to pay an earlier fine over alleged abuse of its dominant position in the video hosting market, the country's anti-monopoly watchdog said on Tuesday.

    The decision is the latest multi-million dollar fine in Moscow's increasingly assertive campaign against foreign tech companies.

    Google was fined RUB 2 billion in February 2022. The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) at the time said Google's YouTube had a "non-transparent, biased and unpredictable" approach to "suspending and blocking users' accounts and content", the TASS news agency reported.

    Google ultimately appealed that decision. The U.S. company did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Tuesday.

    The FAS said the previous fine it imposed on Google had been doubled due to non-payment.

    "The company must additionally pay more than RUB 4 billion to the Russian Federation's budget," the FAS concluded.

    YouTube, which has blocked Russian state-funded media globally, is under heavy pressure from Russian state bodies and politicians, but Moscow has stopped short of blocking it, a step taken against the likes of Twitter and Meta's Facebook and Instagram.

    Google stopped selling online advertising in Russia in March 2022 after Russia's invasion of Ukraine but has kept some free services available. Its Russian subsidiary officially filed for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account, making it impossible to pay staff and vendors.

    Google must pay the fine within 60 days, TASS reported.

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