Google and Russia: How Many Rubles Does the Online Ad Giant Have Tucked Away?

July 28, 2022

There is something called a special action underway in Eastern Europe. The knock on effects are interesting. I thought about how Google will pay a fine to a country involved in a dust up, operating under sanctions, and functioning without some of the banking services available to more acceptable nation states; for example, Luxembourg, Monaco, and a number of others. This thought was sparked by the allegedly accurate information in “Russia Fines Google $358 Million for Not Removing Banned Info.” The cited article states:

Due to the multiple violations of the same legal requirement, the following fine would be revenue-based, reaching as high as 10% of the firm’s annual turnover. Roskomnadzor clarifies that the massive fine of $358 million was indeed calculated on the basis of the company’s annual business turnover in Russia.

The write up added:

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sweeping anti-fake news laws enacted in the country, the Russian Google subsidiary, Google LLC, was forced to file for bankruptcy, claiming incapacity to continue business after a series of massive fines and, ultimately, asset confiscation.

Several questions:

  • What happens to the Russian YouTube content providers’ money? Will Google “hold” the money and invest it? Who gets the payout?
  • Will Google dip into its bag of non – US currencies and pay Russia or will that create an additional legal headache and increased financial costs?
  • Will Sergey Brin explore a ride on a Russian rocket once the possibly-improper fine is resolved?
  • How many violations can Russian officials identify? What will the price tag be if future violations of Russia’s laws, rules, and regulations are identified and levied?

And those lost advertising dollars? Yikes. That’s not good for Alphabet Google YouTube DeepMind stakeholders? Does DeepMind have a solution? Will Russian YouTube content providers trust DeepMind’s unbiased answer?

Stephen E Arnold, July 28, 2022


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