MEXICO CITY (AFP) – A court in Mexico City on Friday ordered Google to pay USD245 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 the ruling.
“We deplore the conviction,” Google said in a brief statement received by AFP, confirming the fine of MXN5 billion.
Google said the ruling was “arbitrary, excessive and without any basis. Google will defend itself until the last instance”. The plaintiff is a Mexican lawyer, Ulrich Richter Morales, who accused the tech platform of having allowed 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,” 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.”
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 in a statement. “We trust that the federal courts will act strictly in accordance with these principles,” it said.