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Airbnb has closed its Russian subsidiary in a bid to simplify the company’s operating structure across the globe, according to a report in business daily Kommersant earlier this week.

The peer-to-peer accommodation rental company said that it was “easier” to conduct operations through its offices in Berlin, Dublin, and London, notes company spokesperson Yekaterina Kukureko. “Therefore, there was no reason to keep the Russian subsidiary open.”

However, according to industry insiders interviewed by Kommersant, local legal constraints may have influenced the company’s decision. In particular, Airbnb might be seeking to avoid being asked to provide user data by the Russian tax authorities.

The U.S. firm might also be concerned about new legal requirements related to cash payments. According to this legislation, which will come into force on July 1, cash payment data will be passed to tax authorities via online cash registers. These requirements apply to most categories of retail outlets and service providers.

“If Airbnb closes its subsidiary in Russia, then all the money and data will be stored abroad, which puts constraints to the abilities of Russian authorities,” Kommersant’s source said.

Airbnb opened its Russian subsidiary in February 2012 aiming to adapt its service to local conditions (see EWDN’s interview with the company’s co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk).

This post first appeared on East-West Digital News, an international resource about innovation in Eastern Europe.


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