Russian Court Orders Seizure of $7 Million in Google's Russian Funds, Property: Reports

Russian Court Orders Seizure of $7 Million in Google's Russian Funds, Property: Reports
The Google logo at the entrance to the Google offices in London, on Jan. 18, 2019. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

A Moscow court has ordered the seizure of 500 million roubles ($7 million) worth of Google's property and funds in Russia, news agencies said, in a lawsuit concerning restrictions the U.S. tech firm has placed on the YouTube channel of a prominent television firm.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russian news agencies reported that the case concerns Gazprom Media Holding's GPM Entertainment Television, which filed a suit demanding that Google restore access to its YouTube account.

YouTube, which has blocked Russian state-funded media globally, is under heavy pressure from Russia's communications regulator and politicians.

Russia has blocked some other foreign internet firms, including Meta Platforms Inc.'s Facebook and Instagram, as it battles to control information flows after sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. YouTube remains available for now.

"The claim of GPM Entertainment Television about interim measures being taken has been granted," Interfax quoted Moscow's Arbitration Court as saying.

It said the measures would involve "seizing funds (including cash which will come into bank accounts) and also all movable and immovable property, owned by Google, for the total sum of 500 million roubles."

RIA reported that the court had rejected a previous claim by GPM Entertainment Television on April 13.

Gazprom Media owns several key social media and television assets in Russia, some of which are benefiting from the exodus of and blockade of foreign internet firms.

($1 = 71.6750 roubles)