Google To Pay $1bn In France To Settle Financial Fraud Probe
Google has agreed to pay close to 1 billion euros (A$1.6 billion) to French authorities to settle a financial fraud probe that began four years ago. The move opens up avenues to extend to other companies operating in the country.
French investigators had sought to establish whether Google, whose European headquarters are based in Dublin, failed to pay its dues to the state by avoiding declaring parts of its activities in the country.
The settlement comprises a fine of 500 million euros and additional taxes of 465 million euros, Google said in a statement.
Google, part of Alphabet, pays little tax in most European countries because it reports almost all sales in Ireland; this is possible due to a loophole in international tax law on the back of staff concluding all sales contracts in Dublin.
“The agreement allows Google to settle once for all these past disputes,” said Antonin Levy, one of Google’s lawyers, at a hearing in the Paris court.
French Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin told Le Figaro newspaper the settlement would create a legal precedent and added that talks were under way with several other companies, big and small. He did not specify their names.