French authorities raid Google's Paris HQ over tax allegations

The Chocolate Factory is 'cooperating fully' with Inspector Clouseau et cie

Google UK office logos

Google's office in central Paris was raided this morning by police, directed by French financial officials, over alleged underpayment of taxes.

More than 100 investigators and five magistrates were involved in the raid, which happened shortly after 5am on Tuesday morning, Reuters reported.

This has been confirmed to The Register, with a Google spokesperson stating: "We comply with French law and are cooperating fully with the authorities to answer their questions."

The French financial prosecutor initially opened its investigation in June last year to assess the degree to which Google's Irish subsidiary has upheld its public and legal expectations of the integrity expected of zaibatsu accountants.

A communique shared by French journalist Michel Deléan notes the investigation was started after a complaint from the French fiscal authorities. It will verify whether Google Ireland has failed to meets its tax obligations to France, if it is indeed established there and obliged to declare its activities.

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Following its £130m settlement with the UK's tax authorities, which averaged a mere £13m a year in tax paid for the duration of the dispute, Parliament's public accounts committee said it had questions about whether the Chocolate Factory settlement had been fair to taxpayers.

The problem has global reach too, with a report from Oxfam claiming that Google is in the top ten of the largest corporate tax dodgers in the US.

As The Registerhas reported previously, France is fighting Google hard on this front, and the Gauls have never been as soft on the Chocolate Factory as the British may be accused of being.

Google, having dropped its Don't Be Evil motto some time ago, maintains its single corporate responsibility is to maximise value for its shareholders. ®


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