On January 31, a Moscow court rejected Booking.com’s appeal against a RUB1.3bn fine ($17mn at the current exchange rate) in relation to its alleged violation of the anti-monopoly legislation.
While expressing its “disappointment” with the ruling, Booking.com said it intends to pay the fine. The company does not rule out “further legal action.”
As reported by TASS, the legal matter began back in 2019 as a Russian business association, Opora Russia, filed a complaint against Booking.com over its pricing policy. The international platform forbids hotels to establish their prices lower than those available on Booking.com, even when the platform is not involved at all in the relationship with the client.
The Russian anti-monopoly authority (FAS) imposed the fine in August 2021, determining that Booking.com had abused its dominant position.
Over the past few years, Russian courts have been actively fining international online giants – including Facebook, Google, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. The motives, sometimes controversial, have ranged from failure to remove unlawful content, to election interference, to personal data storage outside the country, to violations of Russia’s anti-monopoly legislation.
This article first appeared in East-West Digital News (EWDN), a bne IntelliNews partner publication.