Google boss defends tax affairs

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has defended the internet giant's tax affairs, saying the firm was playing a key role in the UK's high-tech growth.

The firm paid just £6 million in corporation tax in 2011, but Mr Schmidt said the arrangements "fully comply with the law" and it was acting in the same way as other firms.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The tax arrangements of multinational firms including Google were heavily criticised by MPs in a scathing report earlier this year.

The Public Accounts Committee accused Google, Starbucks and Amazon of "using the letter of tax laws both nationally and internationally to immorally minimise their tax obligations".
Asked about the £6 million tax bill on BBC Radio 4's World at One Mr Schmidt said: "Of course that omits the fact that we also hire more than 2,000 employees and are investing heavily in Britain.

"Britain has been a very good market for us. We empower literally billions of pounds of start-ups through our advertising network and so forth. And we're a key part of the electronic commerce expansion of Britain which is driving a lot of economic growth for the country.

"So from our perspective I think ... you have to look at it in totality. You're describing the way taxes work globally. And the fact of the matter is these are the way taxes are done globally. The same is true for British firms operating in the US, for example.

"I think the most important thing to say about our taxes is that we fully comply with the law and we'll obviously, should the law change, we'll comply with that as well."

Giving evidence before the Public Accounts Committee last year, Matt Brittin, CEO of Google UK, insisted the firm complied with the law in the UK and had not breached its own "Do No Evil" mantra.

But committee chairman Margaret Hodge told him: "We are not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral."

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Forbes rich list: the world's top ten billionaires
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Google boss defends tax affairs

The Mexican self-made telecoms mogul tops the rich list with a wealth that, as Forbes reports, if it were a country would be the eighth richest in Latin America.

Dubbed the world's most generous person, Bill Gates made his fortune as the brains behind Microsoft and has reportedly already donated $28 billion of his wealth to charity so far.

Spanish billionaire Ortega is the man behind the clothes brand Zara and is this year's biggest rich list gainer, making $19.5 billion last year and moving him into third position.

Buffett made his billions as CEO, primary shareholder and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, A diversified company with interest in GEICO, life insurance, annuity sales and sales of jewellery. He recently signed a lucrative deal to acquire Heinz Ketchup.

Ellison founded Oracle Corporation, a leading enterprise software company. He's America's third richest man and Forbes has reported that he recently bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai from David Murdock for a reported sum of $500 million.

Koch built his fortune on chemicals and refining and shares the sixth position on the rich list with his billionaire brother, David Koch.

Tied sixth in the rich list with his elder brother Charles, David runs the chemical equipment side of Koch Industries from his New York home.

This self-made billionaire is Asia's richest man and currently supplies a quarter of British people with gas after acquiring British gas supplier Wales & West Utilities for $1 billion last October.

The only woman in the top ten, Bettencourt's father founded L'Oreal and now she and her family own 30% of the French cosmetics super brand.

Branded by Forbes as the 'World's most influential tastemaker' Arnault owns the luxury goods powerhouse LVHM, Moet Hennessy - Luis Vuitton.

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