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Google headquarters, in the heart of Silicon Valley. RFI / Thomas Bourdeau

A " historic " agreement according to Bercy. The US internet giant was under investigation for tax evasion. Google agreed Thursday, September 12 to pay nearly a billion euros to settle all of its litigation with the French tax. This is tantamount to acknowledging that the alleged facts may correspond to the offense of corporate tax fraud.

The agreement is in two parts. The multinational has agreed to pay a 500 million euro fine to put an end to an investigation of the National Public Prosecutor (PNF), and secondly to pay 465 million euros of catch-up tax to close the reorganization proceedings initiated against him. " This agreement is historic, both for our public finances and because it marks the end of an era, " said the Minister of Action and Public Accounts GĂ©rald Darmanin in a statement. " We remain convinced that a coordinated reform of the international tax system is the best way to provide a clear framework for companies operating worldwide, " responded the US group.

Google, which has been in the sights of the French tax authorities for several years, has already made such agreements abroad. Notably in the United Kingdom and Italy, where he spent several hundred million euros to get a prosecution.

This agreement is historic, both for our public finances and because it marks the end of an era. By normalizing the tax situation of Google in France, it meets the requirement of tax justice of our fellow citizens.
🗞️ @Le_Figaro ⤵️https: //t.co/vHnf11GATw

GĂ©rald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) September 12, 2019

Google acknowledges the alleged facts

The € 500 million fine, accepted by Google France and Google Ireland, has been validated as part of a Public Interest Court Agreement (CJIP), which allows a company to negotiate a fine without going to trial. or go through a "plead guilty" procedure.

Through this agreement, which puts an end to the lawsuits for " aggravated tax evasion " initiated in 2015 by the National Public Prosecutor (PNF), Google recognizes that the alleged facts may correspond to the crime of corporate tax fraud.

In the eyes of the PNF, Google had refrained from paying more than 189 million euros in taxes to the French tax authorities between 2011 and 2016. The investigation of the French prosecutor had led to searches in the Paris premises of the US group in May 2016.

A hundred police officers and computer experts had been mobilized during this operation, called " Tulipe ". " An extraordinary investigation ", including the wealth of data collected and the complexity of the organization, summarized one of the PNF prosecutors at the hearing.

" Better a good deal than a bad trial ... "

Gerald Darmanin had for the first time opened the way for a " transactional agreement " with Google in 2017, assuring that " many large European countries " had "done so ". " If Google is ready to enter into a sincere approach with the French government to regularize its situation (...), our door is open. It's better to have a good deal than a bad one , "said the minister.

Google, along with other US multinationals like Amazon or Facebook, is regularly accused of lowering the revenue it receives in France, via complex arrangements, in order to reduce its taxes.

(With AFP)