A court in Moscow has fined Google 7.2 billion rubles (around $98.1 million) for repeatedly failing to take down banned content. The decision marks the first time an IT company has faced financial penalties based on the scale of their turnover in Russia.
On Friday, a judge at Moscow’s Tagansky District Court found the internet conglomerate guilty of “committing administrative offenses,” and “a penalty in the form of an administrative fine of 7.2 billion rubles was imposed,” its press service said in a statement.
A turnover fine is the strictest punishment under the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses and is imposed for repeated violations. Prior to this, Google and other social networks were fined on a case-by-case basis for breaching Russian law, with penalties not linked to their earnings.
Responding to the decision, Google said in a statement that “we will study the court ruling and then determine our next steps.”
The landmark ruling comes amid a standoff between the American tech giant and Moscow’s media regulators. In October, online watchdog Roskomnadzor said it would seek to fine the company for repeatedly refusing to take action over content it has flagged as illegal, and that damages could amount to between 5-20% of Google’s Russian revenues.