Rumors swirling this week about why Google set aside $500 million for an ongoing Department of Justice investigation were stopped when the Wall Street Journal brought details of the probe to light. The search engine and web giant is under federal scrutiny for allegedly accepting millions of dollars in advertising fees from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws.
Should Google pay the full $500 million, it would be one of the highest penalties paid by companies in a federal dispute. To put it in perspective, in a similar case surrounding illegal gambling sites in December 2007, Google, Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo paid a combined $31.5 million to settle with the U.S. government.
Google’s massive stash suggests the company is eager to make the investigation go away. Google has remained quiet with this breaking news, filing a report that the investigation involved “the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers.” The allegations could well be Google’s wake up call to place closer scrutiny in the future on the content found within the $30 billion worth of advertisements in runs each year.
Read more from the Wall Street Journal.