Google "explicitly and repeatedly" told employees to shield business documents from being revealed in court through the use of false requests for legal advice, the US Justice Department alleged in a court document filed Monday.
The allegation, reported earlier by Axios, is part of the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google, in which it accuses the tech giant of illegally holding monopolies in search and in search advertising.
The department alleges that Google used the approach to hide thousand of documents, including those with details of revenue-sharing agreements and Android mobile app distribution agreements. It asked the judge to compel the disclosure of more documents.
In an emailed statement, Google pushed back against the allegation.
"Our teams have conscientiously worked for years to respond to inquiries and litigation, and suggestions to the contrary are flatly wrong," a company spokesperson said in the statement. "Just like other American companies, we educate our employees about legal privilege and when to seek legal advice. And we have produced over four million documents to the DOJ in this case alone -- including many that employees had considered potentially privileged."