Russian court rejects Google’s appeal against $50-million fine over Ukraine content

(Reuters) – A Russian court said it had rejected an appeal by Alphabet’s Google against a 4.6 billion rouble ($49.4 million) fine, imposed for failing to delete what Russia considers to be fake information about the war in Ukraine.

Google had no immediate comment.

Russia has been at loggerheads with foreign technology companies over content, censorship, data and local representation in a simmering dispute that intensified after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“The Moscow City Court left the Tagansky District Court’s decision … unchanged, and the claimant’s appeal without satisfaction,” the Moscow courts’ press service said on Telegram on Wednesday.

Russian news agencies have previously reported that the fine was also imposed for Google’s failure to remove extremist content and the distribution of what Russia calls LGBT propaganda.

Alphabet’s YouTube has been a particular target of the Russian state’s ire but, unlike Twitter and Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Instagram, it has not been blocked. The fine, announced in late December, was calculated as a share of Google’s annual turnover in Russia. The company was handed similar turnover-based penalties of 7.2 billion roubles in late 2021 and 21.1 billion roubles in August 2022. In both cases its appeals were rejected.

($1 = 93.2200 roubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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