Eric Schmidt, head of US Internet giant Google, has had a first meeting with the EU's new top competition regulator to discuss a long-running probe into the company which could lead to a massive fine, officials said Tuesday.
The 28-nation European Union began investigating Google in 2010 after complaints from rivals such as Microsoft that its search engine, the world's biggest, unfairly squeezed out competitors.
"I can confirm that Commissioner (Margrethe) Vestager met Schmidt and other Google representatives" on Monday, her spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said.
"I cannot comment further on the contents of the meeting as they relate to an ongoing competition investigation," Cardoso told reporters.
Google has offered three packages to resolve the issues that the EU has raised but all were rejected.
Vestager called for a review of the probe and asked for fresh information from all parties when she took office in November.
The commissioner "wants to have a fair balance of views amongst the stakeholders and on that basis she will ensure she has all the facts up to date before engaging in any further steps," Cardoso said.
Last week, Google announced a major reorganisation of its European operations which sources said was meant to simplify the business so it could respond better to customers and policymakers.
In addition to the anti-trust investigation, Google has also been forced to accept that European clients have a "right to be forgotten," requiring the company to remove certain information in search queries if asked.
EU rules state that a company found at fault in an anti-trust probe can be fined up to 10 percent of its annual sales, in Google's case about $66 billion in 2014.