Google Near DOJ Settlement Over Online Drug Ads

Google Inc. is close to settling a U.S. criminal investigation into allegations it made hundreds of millions of dollars by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Internet company disclosed in a cryptic regulatory filing earlier this week that it was setting aside $500 million to potentially resolve a case with the Justice Department. A payment of that size would rank high among the criminal or civil penalties paid by companies in disputes with the U.S. government.

Google gave virtually no details in its filing about the probe, saying only that it involved “the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers.”

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