Microsoft in the dock over French tax fraud claims


A bad week for Microsoft (s MSFT) just got worse. After taking a $6.2 billion hit on aQuantive and facing claims about Steve Ballmer’s “foolish” leadership in Vanity Fair, the company is now in the dock over its tax affairs in France.

Local reports suggest the French authorities are investigating the software giant over claims that it has committed fraud, by secretly routing money through offshore companies to avoid corporate tax — a move which could violate the country’s laws.

French magazine Le Canard Enchaîné made the claims after Microsoft’s French headquarters were subjected to a tax raid last week.

The magazine claims that the authorities are examining whether for the past four years Microsoft has operated “a business aimed at French customers, for the French market, using the human and material resources of Microsoft France and located in France… without paying corresponding taxes.”

Corporate tax in France…

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