French investigators have raided Google’s offices in Paris, as they investigate an alleged tax evasion of up to €1.6 billion (£760m).
According to media reports, which have been extensive on the matter, more than 100 investigators, and five prosecutors have been involved in the raid.
At the time of the raid, Google’s spokesperson was not available for comment. Google has later said that it cooperated with the authorities.
“We comply with French law and are cooperating fully with the authorities to answer their questions,” the company said in a statement.
France, the UK and other countries have been after Google for some time, claiming this company is making huge profits while evading taxes.
"As far as our country is concerned, back taxes concerning this company amount to 1.6 billion euros," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said to Reuters.
According to the media, Google has failed to declare the full extent of its activities in the country, thus being able to evade paying taxes. What the company apparently does is keep its offices in London, Paris and other European cities as satellites to its headquarters in Dublin.
These offices provide back-office services, such as marketing, The Guardian said. But now, the authorities are trying to prove these are not just satellites, but fully-fledged businesses.
“The enquiry is focused on verifying whether the company Google Ireland Ltd controls a permanent establishment in France and if, by not declaring a part of the activities conducted on French territory, it has failed in its fiscal obligations, notably regarding taxes on companies and value-added tax,” said the state financial prosecutor (PNF) said in a statement.
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