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May 24, 2016

Google’s Paris headquarters raided in tax evasion probe

News: Google is accused of owing €1.6bn in taxes.

By James Nunns

French investigators have raided Google’s Paris headquarters as part of a probe into tax evasion and money laundering.

Media reports surfaced that on Tuesday morning that about 100 tax officials entered the company’s office early in the morning.

Google is accused of owing €1.6bn in unpaid taxes and has been under investigation since June 2015. The aim is to verify whether Google Ireland Ltd has failed in its fiscal obligations in France, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Google has not commented.

Reports from came from French newspaper Le Parisien with a source telling the paper that it was a "top secret" investigation and, "the operation was extremely secretive."

France’s ministry of finance, Bercy, has previously demanded that the company pay €1.6bn in taxes.

The company has been under close scrutiny over the past year and was criticised by a UK Public Account Committee for its tax deals in the UK.

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In January, the company agreed to pay an extra £130m in tax to the UK as part of a settlement. This deal relates to the company seemingly paying a small amount of tax in the UK as its tax structure allows it to pay tax in the Republic of Ireland, although sales appear to relate to the UK.

The PAC said that the settlement "seems disproportionately small."

Italy has also demanded that the company pay around €200 in back taxes.

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