Mexican court imposes $245 million fine on Google for defamatory blogtext_fields
A Mexican court has ordered Google to pay $245 million in fines to a lawyer who accused the tech giant of allowing the dissemination of a blog that defamed him.
A Mexican lawyer Ulrich Richter Morales filed a complaint saying Google allowed a blog to be disseminated that implicated him in alleged offenses of money laundering, influence peddling, and the falsification of documents.
The blog in question was posted in 2015. Morales had approached Google back then asking to remove the anonymous blog. He also filed for "moral damage" and won in a lower court. Morales has written a number of books on citizenship.
The blog remains available to read on Google under the title "Ulrich Richter Morales and his despicable deeds against the homeland".
The court ruled in favour of the complainant and imposed a fine of five billion pesos on the tech platform. Richter Morales tweeted that he is speechless about the verdict. He said the penalty was based on the economic capacity of the offender. Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc. is the world's fourth most valuable company by market cap.
Google told AFP that the ruling was "arbitrary, excessive and without any basis". A statement to the news agency read "We deplore the conviction. Google will defend itself until the last instance". The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Google said the Mexican court's ruling is undermining freedom of expression. The statement said the company trusts that the federal courts will take strict action in accordance with fundamental principles.
This is not the first time Google is being sued on similar charges. Recently, an Australian federal court ruled against Google in favour of an Australian politician over a comedian's video on YouTube. Google was ordered to pay $487,700.
Politician John Barilaro claimed he was traumatised by comedian Jordan Shanks's videos which led to his premature retirement from public service. He said Google breached its own policy of hedging prominent public figures being subject to unfair targeting.