Google’s Madrid office latest to be searched in tax probe

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UNDER INVESTIGATION: Google is suspected of widespread tax evasion and money laundering.

Spanish tax investigators have stormed Google’s Madrid offices as the internet giant’s tax affairs continue to come under scrutiny.

A spokesperson for the multinational confirmed that the swoop had taken place, and stated that Google abides by financial legislation in Spain and all other countries in which it is active, and is working with the national authorities to answer any queries they may have.

The Spanish tax office allegedly suspects the company of failing to declare some of its activities, with investigations chiefly concerned with IVA payments and taxes on income obtained by individuals and businesses that are not currently registered in Spain.

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According to a statement from the High Court in Madrid, the crackdown had been approved by a judge, as the state financial prosecutor said: “These searches form part of a preliminary enquiry opened on June 16, 2015 relating to acts of aggravated financial fraud and organised laundering of aggravated financial fraud, following a complaint from the French tax authorities.”

The latest raid comes just a few weeks after French tax officials stormed Google’s Paris offices, amid claims of aggravated financial fraud and money laundering, while the corporation agreed to pay €155 million in back taxes to the UK Treasury in January, and Italy have also demanded €200 million for purported tax evasion.

For its part, Google asserts that its offices in European capitals do not represent fully-fledged businesses, operating as satellites of its head office in Dublin.

A number of European nations have started to investigate the potentially nefarious means by which global corporations such as Google, Apple, Starbucks and Amazon generate profits within their borders before funneling the cash elsewhere, which may see them lose out on billions of euros in taxes on an annual basis.

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