Google is under fire in the UK for its tax practices in the country, and a new key witness (who spoke to The Sunday Times) might put them in deeper hot water when he hands over a reported 100,000 emails and documents to the British Revenue & Customs (HRMC) services. Barney Jones, a former Googler who was at the company between 2004 and 2006, says he has material proof that Google’s London sales staff which would negotiate and close sales for the UK market, despite claiming its Dublin HQ handled finalizing all deals.
Jones was prompted to speak out by testimony given to the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week by Google VP Matt Brittin, who said that London-based Google staff were never closing any ad sales deals, though some selling efforts were made there. Brittin had previously gone on record in November 2012 with statements asserting that no one in the London office was doing any kind of ad selling.
The matter of where the deals were finalized is especially important because if a sale closes in London, it’s likely they’d be taxable in Britain, rather than in the extremely low tax-rated Ireland. Jones told the Sunday Times that Google is fully aware of this, yet there are still records of Google staff closing major deals from companies like eBay and Lloyds TSB, but Google doesn’t seem at all certain that any of the documentation will absolutely prove that it has done anything strictly against UK tax law, according to a statement provided by Google Direct of External Relations Peter Barron to the Sunday Times.