Pavel Durov Closes UK-Based Company Telegram Messenger LLP

Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov is liquidating Telegram Messenger LLP, the Britain-based company behind the popular messaging service Telegram. The same entity is registered as the messenger’s operator in the Russian Federation, where Telegram is currently banned.

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Application for Voluntary Strike Off Filed in the UK

The application to strike the limited liability partnership off the U.K. register was signed by Pavel Durov on Dec. 19, 2018 and filed about a week ago, Russian media reports. The First Gazette notice for the voluntary strike off is currently being processed and will be issued on Jan. 15, 2019, the Companies House website shows.

Telegram Messenger LLP was established in February 2014 by two companies – Dogged Labs Ltd. (British Virgin Islands) and Telegraph Inc. (Belize). In May 2018, however, Dogged Labs was substituted for Telegram Messenger Inc., which is also registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Durov has previously identified Telegram Messenger LLP as the main entity behind the messaging app, although he has never revealed the exact legal structure of his corporate group. According to RBC, the same company has been added to the Russian register of platforms “disseminating information on the Internet” in July 2017.

By law, these operators – messengers, email providers, and other platforms facilitating the online exchange of messages – are obliged to share information about their activities with the country’s telecom operator, Roskomnadzor, and data allowing the decryption of users’ correspondence with the Federal Security Service (FSB). They are also expected to keep records in Russia of all voice, video and text messages for up to one year. Failure to comply with these requirements may lead to the blocking of their services in the Russian Federation.

The attempts to block Telegram in Russia started when its operator refused to hand over its encryption keys to the FSB. In April last year, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow imposed a ban on the messaging service following a request from Roskomnadzor. In June, the Moscow City Court rejected an appeal against the decision filed by Telegram Messenger LLP.


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