Google’s Schmidt defends tax affairs amid fresh claims

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Eric Schmidt insists in U.K. interview that Internet company ‘tried to do the right thing’.

Google Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt Sunday defended the internet search company’s tax affairs in a U.K. newspaper article, days after the company was accused of tax avoidance by a committee of U.K. lawmakers and as fresh allegations about its tax affairs surfaced.

Writing in The Observer, Mr. Schmidt said Google tried to “do the right thing,” with regard to its tax affairs, but said that international tax rules were complicated and could benefit from reform.

He added that while profit was sometimes regarded as a “dirty word,” it was worth remembering that corporate profits led to job creation and investment in research and development, which ultimately led to higher tax revenue.

Mr. Schmidt’s defense comes ahead of a planned meeting with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron over the matter.

Separately, in the Sunday Times, a former Google executive said Google systematically books sales made in the U.K. in Ireland in order to minimize tax liabilities in the U.K. Barney Jones told the newspaper he was prepared to give a cache of more than 100,000 emails and documents to British tax authorities.

Google representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.