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Apple chief now says there is no special low tax deal with Ireland

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Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

IN an apparent U-turn that will cheer the Government, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the company did not receive any special deal from Ireland to pay a flat tax rate of only 2pc.

Mr Cook told a conference in California there was no special agreement between the company and the Irish state.

"We have no special deal that gives us a 2pc flat tax rate," he said.

Mr Cook's comments contrast with his testimony before the powerful US sub-committee for investigations, which is investigating Apple's tax affairs.

At the hearing, Mr Cook said his company had been given a "tax incentive agreement" to set up in Cork in 1980.

US Senator Carl Levin, who leads the committee, accused Apple of "negotiating with the Irish government an income tax rate of less than 2pc, well under the Irish statutory rate of 12pc".

Mr Cook spoke as it emerged that the government has yet to contact Senator Levin over his claim that Ireland is a "tax haven" more than a week after the accusation was made.

Last week, Senator Levin claimed Ireland was a tax haven and said an investigation by the committee had shown Ireland gave Apple a deal on tax to set up in this country.

The Government has said several times since then it will formally contact Mr Levin to rebut his accusations.

However a spokesman for Mr Levin told the Irish Independent yesterday that the senator had not had any contact from the Government.

"We have received nothing so far, either at the offices of the committee or at the senator's personal office," he said.

Mr Levin's comments, which caused headlines around the world, prompted the Taoiseach and ministers to deny there was any special deal. However the senator made clear yesterday that he stood by the accusations.

"The report the sub-committee published, was based in part on what Apple told the sub-committee. It makes it very clear there was an agreement between Apple and the Irish government," his spokesman said.

"The senator does not have any reason to change his position, either on whether Ireland is a tax haven or on whether there was a deal between Ireland and Apple," he added.

The lack of contact from the Irish Government more than a week after the event will be a surprise, given the ferocity of the response from the Taoiseach and other lawmakers in the days since the hearings.

Mr Kenny said last Wednesday: "Ireland does not do special deals or side deals with any company with regard to our corporation tax rate."

Finance minister Michael Noonan has also made clear that "there is no negotiation, the Revenue did not do any deals [with Apple]".

A government spokesman confirmed there had been no contact as yet.

While Mr Cook said there was no deal in place that gave Apple a 2pc flat rate in Ireland, it has been suggested that the Fianna Fail government of the 1990s came to some sort of agreement with Apple on what the company's tax base would be in Ireland, and what tax would be due on the back of it.

Irish Independent