Bookings.com Must Pay Russian Antitrust Fine Over Searches

Booking.com says it plans to pay a $17 million fine issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Services (FAS) in Russia.

FAS had initially warned the online accommodation giant over rate parity clauses back in December 2019, saying it had violated competition law and occupied “a dominant position” in the accommodation aggregation market.

The Russian regulator was responding to a claim from OPORA Russia, an organization representing small and medium sized businesses, giving Booking.com a month to remedy the situation.

After a second warning, FAS issued the fine in August 2020, which was then appealed by Booking.com. A Moscow court dismissed the Booking Holdings-run company’s appeal in November 2021, with a court recently upholding the decision.

In a statement, Booking.com says it is “disappointed by the decision relating to the fine. We will pay the fine within the stipulated time, while we consider our legal next steps.

“Booking.com have always contributed positively to the travel industry and believe strongly that our practices are fair in order for Booking.com to continue to support the travel ecosystem as we have always done, and especially now during this unprecedented moment in travel which continues to have an immense impact on Booking.com, our property partners, and our industry as a whole.”

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.