McDonald’s raided by French police in tax probe

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Even Ronald McDonald can’t escape the long arm of the law.

French police raided McDonald’s (MCD) offices on the outskirts of Paris last week to look for evidence of tax evasion.

The French prosecutor’s office said Thursday the search was conducted after a group of McDonald’s employees lodged a complaint saying the company was taking part in tax evasion and money laundering.

The fast-food giant has been targeted by European officials for avoiding taxes in Europe — and French police have been cracking down on corporate tax avoidance.

Earlier this week they raided Google’s (GOOGL, Tech30) offices in Paris to look for evidence of money laundering and tax evasion.

Europe’s top anti-trust watchdog agency — the European Commission — accused McDonald’s last year of signing special deals with Luxembourg that allowed it to shift profits around to avoid paying taxes on the royalties it collects from franchise restaurants in Europe and Russia.

McDonald’s said it is cooperating with the French authorities. It said previously that it complies with all tax rules in Europe and paid more than $2.1 billion in corporate taxes to European countries between 2010 and 2014.

Related: Domino’s sued for underpaying its staff

European officials are becoming more aggressive in pursuing corporate tax investigations and have already gone after a number of other big American companies, including Starbucks(SBUX), Fiat Chrysler (FCAM), Apple (AAPL, Tech30) and Amazon (AMZN, Tech30).

This is part of a larger global effort to crack down on tax avoidance.

A new package of international tax rules, which was drafted by over 60 countries, was approved by world leaders last year.

They require multinational firms based in 62 countries to disclose details about their business operations, global subsidiaries, sales, profits, tax payments and employee numbers.

This new requirement should pressure companies to stop using shady techniques to hide their taxable income.

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