Google’s Paris offices were raided by French prosecutors and police amid a probe into alleged tax fraud.
The raids are part of preliminary probe opened in June 2015 to investigate suspected “aggravated fiscal fraud” after French tax authorities lodged a complaint, according to a statement from France’s financial prosecutor yesterday. The raids started at about 5am local time, Le Parisien newspaper reported earlier, citing an unidentified source.
The raids come as Google, which is part of parent company Alphabet, faces outrage in Europe over the small amount of tax it pays in the region. France has called on the company to pay back taxes of about €1.6bn ($1.8bn)
Earlier this year Google reached a controversial £130mn ($190mn) settlement with the UK government over an audit covering 10 years of accounts. Critics called the amount “derisory.” The investigation will aim to verify whether Google’s Irish unit has permanent establishment in France and whether the firm failed to declare part of its revenues in France, according to the statement from the office of the financial prosecutor.
Google representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.