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Google faces record €3bn EU antitrust fine

The EU has accused Google of promoting its shopping service in internet searches at the expense of rivals.

FILE: Google’s Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Google faces a record antitrust fine of around €3 billion from the European Commission in the coming weeks, British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph said.

The European Union has accused Google of promoting its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services in a case that has dragged on since late 2010.

Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month they believed that after three failed attempts at a compromise in the past six years Google now had no plans to try to settle the allegations unless the EU watchdog changed its stance.

The Telegraph cited sources close to the situation as saying officials planned to announce the fine as early as next month, but that the bill had not yet been finalised.

Google will also be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm rivals, the newspaper said.

The Commission can fine firms up to 10 percent of their annual sales, which in Google's case would be a maximum possible sanction of more than €6 billion. The biggest antitrust fine to date was a €1.1 billion fine imposed on chip-maker Intel in 2009.

The Commission and Google both declined to comment.

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