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Russian watchdog may start fining Google twice a month

September 21, 2016, 14:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) intends to fine Google every two weeks if the company fails to eliminate violations

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© AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) will fine Google twice a month if the company delays enforcing regulations of the service, Head of FAS Igor Artemyev told journalists on Wednesday.

"If there are delays in the process, we will gather every two weeks and issue new fines. This will go on until the final victory end and the court’s decision. This is normal," he said.

Earlier the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) said it would fine Google for failure to comply with the order to eliminate violations of the antimonopoly legislation in time.

"If the requirement is not met, a non-compliance penalty will be set, starting from 500,000 rubles ($7.721) and then it double. We will fine as much as necessary for non-compliance with the regulations, until they are fulfilled," Head of the Antimonopoly Service Igor Artemyev said.

Deadline for enforcing Google regulation should not be moved, Artemyev noted. "I believe that we should not move it. They had more than enough time," he said.

According to the agency’s statement, FAS refused extending the deadline for Google. "The decision took into account that 10 months ago the period for performing the requirements have been already extended on Google's request for 1 month, until December 18, 2015 - and for the same reasons: because of the need for a "significant amount of work"," FAS said. The agency noted that the content of the new request presented no evidence of a significant change in circumstances relating to the execution of orders. In addition, the petition was filed in violation of the terms established by the law on protection of competition.

FAS is currently preparing to conduct an administrative investigation into the failure to comply with the ruling.

On September 2, FAS received a request from Google for extension of deadline for fulfilling the service’s orders. "The Service will consider the appeal of the company in due course," FAS press service quoted Head of FAS Department for Regulation of Communications and Information Technologies Elena Zaeva said.

FAS said earlier that one more fine might be imposed on Google if the corporation fails to meet the directive of the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) to cure violations of antimonopoly laws.

"Google has eight days to perform FAS directive from the time of court judgment preparation in full scope. Otherwise they will face a new penalty," press service of the regulator said.

It was reported earlier that the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal has already rejected Google's appeal against the case of the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). At the same time, FAS will enforce Google ruling. "We expect to see the situation favorable for the development of competition in the market, it is the most important thing," she added, saying that Google has not yet paid the fine. On August 16, FAS said they failed to reach an agreement with Google on amicable agreement.

It was reported earlier, that FAS determined the fine in the amount of 438 mln rubles ($6.7 mln) penalty for US Google Corporation.

In March 2016, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) initiated administrative proceedings against Google to determine the amount of fine under part 2 article 14.31 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences. According to the article, in view of the abuse of dominant position on the market of operating systems for mobile devices in Russia, Google as the owner of the Android OS can pay a fine ranging from 1% to 15% of its revenues on the Russian market in 2014.

In January 2016, Head of FAS Igor Artemyev said Russia’s competition law violation penalty for US Google Corporation will most likely amount to 7% of the turnover in 2014 with addressed inflation. According to Artemyev, the fine will most likely be 7% of the annual turnover, subject to various factors and aggravating circumstances: protraction of process, etc.

On September 14, 2015, the Federal Antimonopoly Service ruled that Google Inc. and Google Ireland Ltd. had breached the competition protection law under the complaint of the Russian Internet company Yandex. According to the regulator, Google obliged manufacturers of Android OS-based devices to pre-install its applications together with Android platform. FAS said that Google’s policy restricted installation of applications by other developers. Google did not agree with the ruling and appealed to the court.

Google did not agree with FAS decision and appealed to the court. On February 5, 2015, the Court brought Yandex as a third party in the case and decided to hold hearings behind closed doors. On March 14, the Moscow Arbitration Court has dismissed the lawsuit Google filed against Russia’s FAS.

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