* 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 (Reuters) - 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 derisory.
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 comment.
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)