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Sergey Brin mum on $500m DoJ settlement stash

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Google I/O Google has set aside $500 million to prepare for a possible settlement with the US Department of Justice, according to an SEC filing. But Sergey Brin says he knows nothing about it.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin was asked about the filing today at the company's annual developer conference, but he declined to comment, saying that in his new role at the company, he does not deal with such things.

Google recently reached a settlement with the DoJ over its purchase of flight-data outfit ITA Software, but the new filing appears to address the possibility of an antitrust investigation into its advertising practices. At this point, rumors indicate that the US Federal Trade Commission – and not the DoJ – is prepping a broad antitrust probe involving search ads as well as organic search.

The charge will reduce the company's first-quarter net income to $1.8 billion, down from 2.3 billion. In its filing, the company said it does not believe that a potential antitrust settlement will have an adverse effect on its search and ad business.

"In May 2011, in connection with a potential resolution of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers, we accrued $500 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2011," the SEC filing says. "Although we cannot predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, we believe it will not have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows." ®

Update: This story has been updated so that it no longer says Google's $500 million was set aside for specifically for an antitrust settlement. Google does not use the word antitrust in its SEC filing.

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