Moscow court seizes Google property as YouTube trial continues

MOSCOW — A Moscow court has seized assets and frozen bank accounts of the Russian branch of Google as security against a possible court decision concerning a lawsuit brought against the American tech giant by a subsidiary of the Gazprom-Media holding company.

The Moscow City Arbitration Court said on April 26 that it had decided six days earlier to take over Google’s assets, which are worth around 500 million rubles ($6.6 million). .

Gazprom-Media subsidiary GPM Entertainment TV is suing Google for its refusal to restore access to its YouTube channel. She is asking for financial compensation for the damage and wants access to her channel restored.

The lawsuit also names Google Ireland Ltd, Google LLC and Google Commerce Ltd.

In early March, days after Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Google blocked the YouTube channels of several state-funded Russian outlets in Europe and disabled the monetization program for bloggers. Russians, including YouTube Premium and YouTube Music packages. .

Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, said in a blog post at the time the channels were blocked that “in this extraordinary crisis, we are taking extraordinary steps to stop the spread of misinformation and disrupt misinformation campaigns. in line”.

GPM Entertainment’s TNT and NTV YouTube channels were also blocked at the time.

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