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Google agrees to $550 million fine in France to settle fiscal fraud probe

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Google agrees to $550 million fine in France to settle fiscal fraud probe

FILE PHOTO: Visitors pass by the logo of Google at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech,in Paris, France May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – Google agreed to pay a 500 million euro ($548 million) fine in France to settle a fiscal fraud probe that began four years ago, the financial prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.

French investigators have been seeking to establish whether Google, whose European headquarters are based in Dublin, failed to pay its dues to the state by avoiding to declare parts of its activities in the country.

Google, part of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), pays little tax in most European countries because it reports almost all sales in Ireland. This is possible thanks to a loophole in international tax law but it hinges on staff in Dublin concluding all sales contracts.

“(The agreement allows) to settle once for all these past disputes,” said Antonin Levy, one of Google’s lawyers, at a hearing in the Paris court.

Reporting by Simon Carraud; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Geert De Clercq

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