McDonalds have been fined $341 million dollars (300 million euros) for unpaid taxes in France after French authorities discovered that the fast food corporation had funnelled cash through Luxembourg and Switzerland as part of a huge tax avoidance scheme.
French authorities have accused the fast food giant of taking advantage of a Luxembourg-based entity, McD Europe Franchising, in order to dump their profits and fool the government.
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McDonald’s France declined to comment on developments in the ongoing French tax investigation, first reported in 2014.
“McDonald’s is one of the biggest payers of company tax in France and we’re proud of it,” the group said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Tuesday. McDonald’s has paid 1.2 billion euros in tax and invested another 1 billion in the country since 2009, it said, creating 10,000 jobs.
In January 2014, McDonald’s confirmed that its French offices had been searched by tax officials three months earlier, after L’Expansion reported that it was suspected of transferring 2.2 billion euros out of the country to evade tax.
The company said at the time it firmly denied the magazine’s allegations “according to which McDonald’s supposedly hid part of its revenue from taxes in France”.