Apple boss: EU is picking on Ireland
Tim Cook suggests €13bn bill is a bid to harmonise tax rates n Apple 'highest taxpayer in Ireland', paying $400m in 2014 n US tech giant's expansion in Cork to 'absolutely' continue
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has angrily dismissed the EU's €13bn tax ruling as "political crap".
The European Commission says Ireland illegally provided State aid to Apple by not collecting taxes owed by the US tech giant over a decade.
But Mr Cook also says Ireland is being "picked on" and suggests we are a pawn in a wider Brussels agenda to harmonise taxes across the EU.
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Cook said Apple will "go forward" with an expansion in Cork, despite the uncertainty caused by the ruling across Europe.
Mr Cook is encouraging the Government to appeal the EU decision.
"I think we'll work very closely together as we have the same motivation. No-one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable."
Mr Cook strongly rejected the assertion by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Apple paid just 0.005pc tax in Ireland in 2014.
"It's total political crap," he said.
"They just picked a number from I don't know where. In the year that the Commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400m. We believe that makes us the highest taxpayer in Ireland that year."
Meanwhile, the Government has performed a dramatic U-turn on its pledge to immediately appeal the decision, amid concerns from Independent ministers.