* EU antitrust chief considering whether to penalise Google
* First meeting for Google CEO since his August appointment
(Adds European Commission declines comment, details)
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, Feb 19 Google Chief
Executive Sundar Pichai will meet Europe's antitrust chief next
Thursday for the first time since his appointment last August,
two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who
has accused the world's most popular Internet search engine of
favouring its shopping service over rivals' when delivering
search results, is considering whether to penalise Google.
Possible sanctions could include ordering Google to change
its business practices, as well as a fine of up to 10 percent of
its global turnover.
The case has dragged on for more than five years since the
EU competition enforcer launched an investigation in November
2010, followed by three unsuccessful attempts by Google to
settle the issue with concessions.
Vestager may also scrutinise Google's back-tax deal with
British tax authorities following a complaint from the Scottish
National Party. Google agreed last month it would pay 130
million pounds ($187 million) to settle tax claims covering a
10-year period, but opposition parties have called the amount
The sources described Pichai's visit as an introductory
meeting. He will also meet EU telecoms chief Gunther Oettinger,a
vocal critic of U.S. might in a sector where German media
companies have, for example, been lobbying to protect content
from online giants.
European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to
Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt met Vestager in
March last year but failed to appease her.
($1 = 0.6954 pounds)
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)