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24 May 2016 02:00pm

French authorities raid Google's offices over tax probe

Google’s Paris headquarters have been raided as part of an investigation into aggravated financial fraud and organised money laundering, according to reports

Around 100 investigators entered the tech giant's offices in Paris early on Tuesday morning.

The authorities are accusing Google of owing €1.6bn (£1.22bn) in taxes.

"These searches are the result of a preliminary investigation opened on June 16, 2015 relative to aggravated tax fraud and organized money laundering following a complaint from French fiscal authorities," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"The investigation is aimed at finding out whether Google Ireland Ltd. is permanently established in France and if, by not declaring some of its activity on French soil, it has failed to meet its fiscal obligations, in particular with regard to corporation tax and value added tax."

Google released a statement saying, "We comply with French law and are cooperating fully with the authorities to answer their questions."

The company has been widely criticised in Europe for paying low taxes in recent years.

In January this year, HMRC struck a controversial tax deal with Google, where the multinational company agreed to pay £130m in UK taxes covering a 10-year period.

The European Commission said it was willing to investigate the deal should they receive a complaint.

In 2015, the British government introduced the so-called Google Tax, in an attempt to address the issue of global companies paying less than their perceived share of UK tax.

Jessica Fino

 

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