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Google paying its taxes, Europe executive insists

AFP, PARIS

Google pays taxes in every country where it has a presence, the multinational tech giant’s Europe vice president Carlo d’Asaro Biondo said on Friday as the company faces a raft of fiscal probes across the continent.

“The taxes are paid overwhelming where the value is created. And Google creates most of its value in the United States,” D’Asaro Biondo told radio France Info.

He was speaking the day after Google’s offices in Madrid were searched in a tax probe, just more than a month after police raided the Internet giant in Paris in a similar investigation.

“We have an overall tax rate of approximately 20 percent. This is within the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] average,” the Google executive said.

In January, Alphabet Inc’s Google agreed to pay £130 million (US$175 million) in back taxes in Britain after a government inquiry sparked by a public outcry. Italy has also demanded more than 200 million euros (US$200 million) from Google, which is accused of perpetrating tax fraud there.

Like other US-based online multinationals, such as Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, Google is regularly accused of not paying its fair share of tax both in Europe and in the US, registering instead in low tax havens.

In Ireland, where the corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent is among the lowest in the EU, Google has more than 5,000 employees.

The company has also invested more than 10 billion euros there, D’Asaro Biondo said.

“The choices regarding fiscal laws in each country were made by the European Commission... today we apply them,” he said, while urging a change in the rules to adapt to the increasing globalization of large companies.

Google faces fresh EU anti-competition charges, this time targeting the search engine giant’s advertising business, sources close to the matter said on Tuesday.

“It’s normal that there are controls on a company of our size,” D’Asaro Biondo said, adding that Google would continue to “collaborate” with the European Commission on the matter.

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