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EU Commission prepares to investigate UK Google tax deal

The EU's competition boss has said she'd be willing to look into a deal signed between the US tech company and Britain. The deal proved controversial domestically as well as abroad.

European Competition Comissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday she would consider investigating the much-touted deal, which was announced in the UK last Friday.

Google said it would pay 130 million pounds ($185 million, 170 million euros) in back taxes, in a deal hailed as a major win by Prime Minister David Cameron's government.

However, the opposition Labour Party, among others, has been critical of the deal, saying it was a paltry sum for the company to pay. A spokesman for the Scottish National Party said it had sent a letter to the EU requesting a probe into the deal on Wednesday.

Possible 'sweetheart' deal

Deutschland DLD 16 Konferenz Margrethe Vestager

Margrethe Vestager

In an interview with BBC radio, Vestager said the case had been brought to her attention and that she'd be willing to look into it in order to ensure the company hadn't been awarded what she termed a "sweetheart deal."

"We should be in a union where everyone has a fair chance," Vestager said.

Google defended itself from the deal's detractors, insisting it had complied with all tax laws. The company's statement came a day after Cameron also had to defend the agreement in the House of Commons.

Critics allege, among other arguments, that Paris and Rome secured far tougher deals with Google.

blc/msh (AFP, AP)

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