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Google chairman Schmidt defends UK tax record

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has spoken out about the corporate tax record of his company in the UK.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Schmidt denied accusations that Google was guilty of "immoral" tax dodging. He said that the Internet giant had in fact invested heavily in Britain and its economy, and was helping to drive job creation through its support of the startup sector.

"Britain has been a very good market for us," Schmidt commented.

He continued: "We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth. And we're a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain, which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country."

Schmidt added that the tax strategies employed by Google were representative of "the way taxes and done globally," pointing out that the Silicon Valley giant's behaviour was no different to that of "British firms operating in the US."

"I think the most important thing to say about our taxes is that we fully comply with the law and we'll obviously, should the law change, we'll comply with that as well," he said.

Google has found itself under fire after reports surfaced in 2012 indicating that the Internet titan had coughed up just £6 million in taxes despite UK profits of some £395 million. British MPs subsequently called for an investigation into Google's UK tax policies as part of a wider review of corporate tax avoidance and "profit-shifting."

The search giant pays a minimal rate of corporation tax in the UK by operating its European HQ out of Ireland, it is thought.

Can't get enough of Google's plucky executive chairman? Have no fear - we've got a recap and full transcript of Eric Schmidt's chat with WikiLeaks' Julian Assange for your reading pleasure.