Google is forking out a huge sum to the European authorities once again, this time to settle a fiscal fraud investigation in France. Mountain View will pay 1 billion euros ($1.10 billion) to finalize a probe that first started four years ago.
Importantly, the end of this investigation could change the way other tech companies deal with French authorities. The investigation has centered on whether Google did not pay enough taxes in France.
Google holds its European headquarters in Ireland and has been accused of not declaring all its activities. To settle the case, the company will be fined 500 million euros and taxes of 465 million euros.
Over the years, Google has managed to avoid big tax payouts in the European Union because of its Irish base.
“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,” Google said.
French Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin told Le Figaro newspaper that the settlement will change other legal cases in the tech market.
Google has already been handed the two largest anti-trust fines in history. The company was forced to pay $2.7 billion for breaching competition laws around its shopping search results.
Last year, Google was fined $5 billion by regulators in Europe. The Commission says the fine regards three restrictions Google placed on Android device OEMs. Under European laws the restrictions break antitrust regulations.
In March, Google was fined $1.69 billion by the European Commission over allegations of market abuse. The European Commission says Google abused its dominant search position to push websites to favor its own ad network.
“Google has engaged in illegal practices when it comes to their search advertising brokering in order to cement its dominant market position,” said European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager during a press conference.