GOOGLE RAIDED!!!! TAX FRAUD!
Investigators raid Google Paris HQ in tax evasion inquiry
French investigators raided Google’s (GOOGL.O) Paris headquarters on Tuesday as part of a tax evasion inquiry, the financial prosecutor’s office said.
Facing public anger at the way multinational companies use their footprints around the world to minimize tax, France, Britain and others have sought ways to make sure Google, Yahoo! and other digital giants, who often have their tax bases in other countries, pay their taxes locally.
“The investigation aims to verify whether Google Ireland Ltd has a permanent base in France and if, by not declaring parts of its activities carried out in France, it failed its fiscal obligations, including on corporate tax and value added tax,” the prosecutor’s office said in statement.
The company, now part of Alphabet Inc, has been under pressure in recent years over its practice of channeling most profits from European clients through Ireland to Bermuda, where it pays no tax on them.
“We are cooperating with the authorities to answer their questions,” Al Verney, a spokesman for Google in Europe, said in an email. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt approached for a reaction at a conference in Amsterdam, declined to comment.
France is seeking some 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in back taxes from U.S. Internet giant Google, criticized for its use of aggressive tax optimization techniques, another finance ministry source had said in February.
(Reporting by Michel Rose, Ingrid Melander, Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Brazic; additional reporting by Svebor Kranjc in Amsterdam; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Callus and Ralph Boulton)