A billion euros in the coffers of Bercy. Google has agreed to pay 500 million euros in fines, plus 465 million additional taxes, to settle all of its litigation with the French state. This deal allows the digital giant to avoid a lawsuit.
By agreeing to pay almost a billion euros, the US Internet giant recognizes that the alleged facts may correspond to the crime of corporate tax fraud. Clearly, Google admits that he did not pay all the taxes related to his French activities. A good part of this tax money was spent in Ireland, where Google's head office is located and taxes are lower.
"Better a good deal rather than a bad trial"
The French tax authorities and the American company have been opposing this issue for several years. But since 2018, the law on fraud allows in some cases to sign a transaction, which allowed to unblock this file. "It is better a good agreement rather than a bad trial," said Gerald Darmanin, Minister of Public Accounts, in the columns of Figaro , also recognizing that this was an unprecedented operation.
In the eyes of the National Financial Procuratorate (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 PNF had led to searches in local Paris of the American group in May 2016. A hundred police officers and computer experts had been mobilized during this operation, dubbed "Tulip". "An unusual investigation", including the wealth of data collected and the complexity of the organization of the company, summed up one of the PNF prosecutors at the hearing.
Gérald Darmanin had for the first time opened the way to a "transactional agreement" with Google in 2017, assuring that "many large European countries" had "done so". In any case, this is good news for the state coffers, since this billion euros will come directly to the Directorate General of Public Finance.