Google's Paris headquarters raided in French tax probe

Prosecutors said it was focused on whether Google Ireland had permanent establishment in France

Google's Paris headquarters raided in French tax probe

File photo

Investigators have raided the Paris headquarters of Google as part of a probe over tax payments.

France's financial prosecutor confirmed the raid, which was reported to have taken place in the early hours of the morning.

Reports suggested around 100 investigators were part of the raid.

The official statement said that it was taking place with the help of 25 computer experts.

Google said: "We comply with French law and are cooperating fully with the authorities to answer their questions".

Google's European operations are based in Dublin.

The prosecutor's statement on the French investigation said it was focused on whether Google Ireland had a permanent establishment in France and that "by not declaring a part of its business carried on French territory, it has violated tax obligations".

It stressed that anyone who had not been convicted remained innocent.

Countries including France and Britain have long complained at the way a number of technology firms generate profits within their borders - but have their tax bases elsewhere, in locations where corporate tax rates are far lower.

France is seeking €1.6bn in back taxes from Google, a finance ministry source said earlier this year.

In January, the company agreed to pay stg£130m (€170m) in back taxes in the UK - a sum described by critics as "derisory".