French police raids Google’s offices
PARIS (Web Desk) – The Paris offices of US Internet giant Google were raided by French police on Tuesday, as part of a tax fraud investigation.
Around 100 tax officials entered Google’s offices in central Paris early on Tuesday morning, the BBC reported.
Google is accused of owing the French state €1.6bn ($1.8bn; £1.3bn) in unpaid taxes.
The tax arrangements of international companies have come under close scrutiny recently, with several being accused of using legal methods to minimize their tax burden.
Google is one of several multi-national corporations that have come under fire in Europe for paying extremely low taxes by shifting revenue across borders in an often complex web of financial arrangements.
Google’s European operations are headquartered in Ireland, which has some of the lowest corporate tax rates in the region.
In January, it struck a deal with UK tax authorities to pay an extra £130m in tax for the period from 2005, but that deal was heavily criticised.
The UK Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the £130m settlement “seems disproportionately small”, compared with the size of its UK business.
Google France received a “notification” of the investigation back in March 2014, which did not give any precise figures.
It has been raided by French authorities before, in June 2011, during an investigation into transfers to its Irish headquarters.
The company was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.