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Governments around the world have moved to reform online travel agencies' contracts with hotel partners. Booking.com faces a hefty fine if i can't work out a settlement in Russia.

Russia’s federal anti-monopoly service (FAS) has accused hotel reservation website Booking.com of violating anti-monopoly law, the regulator said on Monday.

The statement from the FAS comes nearly a year after it opened an investigation into the company’s move to ask hotels and hostels to offer the same prices on their own and rival reservation websites as on Booking.com.

“The company has abused its dominant position on the market,” the FAS said.

According to Russian anti-monopoly law, the company could face a fine of between 1% and 15% of its annual revenue generated in Russia.

Booking.com said it was disappointed with the decision, adding it planned to continue supporting its partners in Russia and securing demand for services that are needed for the sector recovery.

The hospitality sector in Russia and globally has been hammered this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to travel restrictions and lockdowns.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Nadezhda Tsydenova; Editing by Mark Potter)

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Tags: antitrust, booking.com, competition, hotels, rate parity, russia

Photo credit: Russia has accused Booking.com of anti-competitive practices in its hotel contracts in the country. Evgenia Novozhenina / Reuters

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