Saturday 24 February 2018

EU regulators haven't extended scrutiny to Google tax deals

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Picture: Bloomberg
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Picture: Bloomberg

Foo Yun Chee

EU regulators have not extended their scrutiny to Google's tax deals with national authorities across Europe, the EU's antitrust chief said yesterday.

Margrethe Vestager, who in recent months ordered Apple to pay up to €13bn in back taxes to Ireland and Starbucks up to €30m to the Dutch tax office, said Google was not on her radar for now.

"So far, no, we have nothing formal on that one," Vestager told reporters.

She said she had not received any formal complaint from the Scottish National Party which in January sent a letter to the European Commission concerning Google's £130m (€144m) back tax deal with British tax authorities, which some British politicians criticised as a derisory amount.

Vestager also defended the slow pace of the commission's antitrust cases against Google, known as 'the shopping case', saying she wanted it to be water-tight. This first case has dragged on since 2010 when her predecessor kicked off the investigation.


"I am as sorry as you and everyone else that antitrust work is taking a lot of time," she told European lawmakers yesterday.

"But it is also a sign that this is a case that is building in its strength."

In the shopping case, Google has been accused of favouring its shopping service over those of rivals in internet search results. It has also been charged with blocking rivals in online search advertising and doing the same with dominant Android mobile operating system.

The commission has warned the company of hefty fines in both the shopping and Android cases and changes in its business practices if it is eventually found guilty of wrongdoing.

Irish Independent

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