Earlier this week, Google noted in a regulatory filing that it took a $500 million charge in Q1 to deal with an undisclosed DoJ enforcement action (as I blogged on here). Today, the Wall Street Journal reported what that problem is:
Google Inc. is close to settling a U.S. criminal investigation into allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws, according to people familiar with the matter.
As the WSJ reveals, investigators looked into if Google knowingly took ads from online pharmacies that violated U.S. laws. While the actual criminal fine was not announced, if it is $500 million, it would be one of the largest ever imposed by the DoJ
Is Google’s mantra – “Do No Evil” – coming to an end (or, was it ever “real”?)? Notes WSJ:
The current investigation is Google’s latest brush with law enforcement and regulatory agencies in both the U.S. and abroad. The company is facing multiple investigations into possible antitrust and privacy violations in several nations. Google maintains that its breakneck growth will inevitably attract greater regulatory scrutiny, and that it’s done nothing wrong in connection with other probes.
More to come…