Google criticizes EU over 'eye-catching' $2.6 billion antitrust fine
- 14 February 2020
Google (GOOGL.O) on Friday called on Europe’s second-top court to throw out what it called an eye-catching 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion) EU antitrust fine, saying there was no factual or legal basis to the inflated amount, APA reports citing Reuters.
The Alphabet unit argued that additional amounts tacked on to the fine imposed by the European Commission in 2017 to deter anti-competitive behavior known as a deterrent multiplier and another multiplier factor was excessive and unwarranted.
Google’s challenge came on the final day of a three-day hearing at the General Court, Europe’s second-highest, as it attempts to overturn the first of a trio of EU antitrust penalties totaling
“2.4 billion euros is an eye-catching amount, it might attract the headlines but it is not justified by the actual facts of this case,” Christopher Thomas, Google’s lawyer, told judges.
He said there should not have been a fine in the first place as existing case law showed that Google’s behavior was not anti-competitive while its market shares and the 13 countries where the infringement was committed did not justify the size of the multiplier.
The Commission used a gravity multiplier between 5 to 20% to Google’s 2016 turnover in the 13 EU countries, higher than the 5% levied on Intel in 2009. EU laws allow for regulators to apply a multiplier up to 30%.