Web Stories Thursday, February 29

LONDON : Telegram Messenger said it does not know why fines against it and other major technology companies were dropped in Russia, but said it has no assets, offices or employees there.

Fines imposed by Russian courts on Alphabet’s Google and YouTube, Meta, TikTok and Telegram appear to have been settled as the companies are no longer registered as debtors in the state bailiffs’ database, online records showed this week.

“Telegram has no assets, offices, employees or equipment in Russia,” a Telegram spokesperson told Reuters on Friday. “Without any presence there, we have no visibility as to why the fines against Telegram and the other companies were dropped.”

Telegram noted that some Russian news outlets had reported that the fines may have been terminated as bailiffs were unable to locate assets that could be forcibly seized.

Russia has been at loggerheads with foreign technology companies over what it deems unlawful content and a failure to store user data locally, in simmering disputes that intensified after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Telegram is widely used in Russia, both for sending messages and as a source of news. Its founder and CEO Pavel Durov left Russia in 2014 after losing control of his previous company and now holds dual citizenship of the United Arab Emirates and France.

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