French police raid Google's Paris offices in tax probe

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The Local France/AFP - [email protected]
French police raid Google's Paris offices in tax probe
Photo: AFP

French police and tax officials raided the offices of US web giant Google on Tuesday as part of an ongoing probe into tax fraud, reports say.


The raid was carried out at the Paris headquarters of Google, near the Gare Saint-Lazare in the ninth arrondissement, reported Le Parisien newspaper

The paper reported that it began at 5am.

A source told the paper that the operation was carried out "in top secret" in a bid to avoid any leaks. 
One hundred French officials were reportedly on the scene, as well as police and five financial prosecutors. 
Authorities demanded that Google pay €1.6 billion ($1.7 billion) in back taxes, a source close to the matter said in February, as controversy mounts over the tax arrangements of multi-national corporations.
Google is one of several companies 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 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.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended Google's tax practices during a visit to Paris in February.
"We're a global company. We have to abide by tax laws everywhere, we do abide by local tax laws in every single country," he said.
"We're advocating strongly for a simpler global tax system," he added.
France has previously refused to negotiate the amount of back taxes it would request.
However, a source inside France's tax authority said in February that bargaining may still be possible.
"This does not mean that Google will ultimately pay 1.6 billion," the source told AFP. "There will be appeals, and perhaps a negotiation in the end, in particular on penalties."




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