TECHNOLOGY giant Apple has been accused of dodging billions of euro in tax over the last two decades through illegal deals with the Irish government.
The company was the subject of an investigation by the European Commission, which has found that it enjoyed illegal state aid and had a tax rate of less than 2pc.
Apple has operated in Ireland since 1980 and is among the biggest employer in Co Cork.
It has invested the equivalent of around €79m in its Irish operations in recent years.
The commission found that the company benefited from illicit state aid after striking backroom deals with Ireland's authorities. However the iPhone maker has insisted that its deals were not illegal.
"There's never been any special deal, there's never been anything that would be construed as state aid," Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer, told the Financial Times.
Apple could be forced to pay a fine of several billion euros when the results of the inquiry are published this week. The commission's investigation followed hearings in the US Senate last year where it emerged that Apple had moved billions of dollars in profits out of the US to international subsidiaries with no declared tax residency.
It is part of a wider crackdown on some of the world's richest companies for what has been called "aggressive" multinational tax avoidance.