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VK relocates to Russia amid sanctions pressure

Russian technology giant VK said Friday it was moving its operations back to Russia from the British Virgin Islands, as Moscow encourages businesses registered in “unfriendly countries” to return home.

VK is Russia’s second-largest internet company after Yandex and runs the popular social media sites VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, which have over 100 million monthly users combined.

Russian companies have faced increasing restrictions and scrutiny from authorities abroad since Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine last year.

In a statement, VK said its shareholders and board approved the decision and that its operations would continue in Russia “as an international public joint stock company in line with Russian legislation”.

VK did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company also said Friday it was delisting its depositary receipts (GDRs) from the London Stock Exchange.

In April 2022, Moscow passed a law banning Russian companies from trading their shares abroad via such depositary receipts — securities that represent a share in a foreign company — in a bid to curb foreign control over Russian firms.

The London Stock Exchange had already halted trading of the company’s receipts in March last year.

The company will now be primarily listed in Moscow and registered on Kaliningrad’s Oktyabrsky Island, one of two special tax zones set up to attract offshore companies back as well as international investment. AFP

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