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Ireland insists Apple tax bill unjustified

Ireland's finance minister has said he remains unhappy about the European Commission's demand that Dublin collect billions of euros in back taxes from Apple. He said agreements with the tech firm had not been state aid.

Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) newspaper Wednesday that the EU executive's decision that Dublin must collect up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion) in back taxes from Apple was unjustified.

The European Commission had ordered the US tech giant to repay taxes to Ireland after ruling last year that Apple paid so little tax on its Ireland-based operations that it amounted to state aid.

But Donohoe told German reporters that the tax rules from which Apple had benefited had been available to all market players and had not been tailored to the US company. Hence, he concluded, they did not violate European or Irish law.

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US angry over EU’s Apple tax ruling (2016)

'Not our job'

The Irish government had said it would collect the money pending an appeal of the ruling by Apple, but Donohoe quipped it wasn't really Dublin's job, adding the request was not justified at all.

"We're not the global tax collector for everybody else," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Part of the money in question is currently being deposited in escrow.

Also in the interview for the Frankfurter Allgemeine, the Irish finance minister distanced himself from French and German proposals that the EU should do more to prevent Chinese investors from buying strategically important European companies.

Donohoe argued such attempts would endanger Europe's reputation for openness.

hg/jd (Reuters, dpa)

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