Mexico court hits Google with $245m fine over blog accusing lawyer of money laundering

Tech platform was accused of having allowed a blog to be disseminated that implicated Ulrich Richter Morales in alleged offenses

Google has already faced a number of complaints related to defamation in other countries. Reuters
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A court in Mexico City on Friday ordered Google to pay $245 million to a Mexican lawyer who said the US tech giant allowed the dissemination of a blog that accused him of money laundering.

Google said it would appeal against the ruling. "We deplore the conviction," the Alphabet-owned company said in a brief statement received by AFP, confirming the fine of 5 billion pesos.

Google said the ruling was "arbitrary, excessive and without any basis. Google will defend itself until the last instance."

The complainant is a Mexican lawyer, Ulrich Richter Morales, who accused the technology platform of allowing a blog to be disseminated that implicated him in alleged offences of money laundering, influence peddling and the falsification of documents.

"I am speechless. Thank you," Mr Richter Morales said on Twitter. He is the author of several books on citizenship, one of which is called Digital citizen. Fake news and post-truth in the era of internet.

Mr Richter Morales said he had asked Google to remove the anonymous blog in 2015. He then filed a complaint for "moral damage" and won in a lower court.

The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Mexican court ruling, dated June 13, "undermines freedom of expression and other fundamental principles," Google said.

"We trust that the federal courts will act strictly in accordance with these principles," it said.

Google has already faced a number of such complaints in other countries.

In early June, an Australian federal court ordered Google to pay more than €466,000 ($487,700) to an Australian politician who believed he had been defamed in videos by a comedian hosted on YouTube, owned by Google.

Updated: June 18, 2022, 10:09 AM
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