Sunday 25 March 2018

Security paranoia over Commission report stops Ministers taking copies home

Apple chief executive Tim Cook Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Apple chief executive Tim Cook Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Ministers have been prevented from taking home copies of the EU Commission's report on Apple's tax history amid fears it could be leaked.

The Cabinet has been told that the document, which runs to 130 pages, contains information that is commercially sensitive "on a global scale".

Each minister was provided with a copy of the report by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting - but was prevented from taking it away to study further.

The copies handed out at the meeting were also watermarked with the name of the minster's department on every page to prevent them taking photographs, the Irish Independent understands.

In it Ms Vestager outlines the methodology used by her investigation team to conclude that Apple, which is headed by Tim Cook, owes Ireland €13bn.

"It is a very technical document that requires some studying," said one minister. "There is significant detail about how Apple does its business."

The Commission does intend to publish a redacted version at some stage but this has been delayed because Apple has raised serious concerns about confidentiality.

"If I had my way the report would have been published yesterday," Ms Vestager said.

In the meantime ministers have access to the report at Government Buildings but are not allowed to take a copy away.

Irish Independent

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