Saturday 26 May 2018

Apple chief Cook meets EU Commissioner over tax row

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Reuters
Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Reuters
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Apple chief executive Tim Cook had a private meeting with the European Union's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager as EU regulators close in on a final decision into the iPhone-maker's tax deals in Ireland.

The Brussels meeting came on the same day as Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as "false and baseless" claims that Ireland is a tax haven for the company. Apple and the European Commission both confirmed that the talks took place but didn't elaborate on what was discussed.

Ireland may eventually be forced to recoup billions of euros in unpaid taxes from Apple. The probe is the most high profile investigation in an EU crackdown on tax deals between countries and multinationals that's also embroiled companies including Starbucks and a unit of car maker Fiat Chrysler in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The EU is examining whether Ireland gave Apple a special tax deal in return for a pledge to create jobs in the country.

"As far as Ireland is concerned - and we've been very clear about this - we've dealt with all the issues about reputational damage, about comments that Ireland was some sort of tax haven which was completely without foundation and utterly untrue," Mr Kenny said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, yesterday.

"From our perspective we're very clear that our Revenue Commissioners have never done specific deals or a favourable deal with any particular company."

Regulators have sought more information in the probe and are expecting responses within the next few weeks, raising concerns that after a year and a half they still aren't clear how the investigation will end.

Irish Independent

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