'Political crap' - Apple boss blasts European Commission's €13bn tax bill ruling

'Political crap' - Apple boss blasts European Commission's ruling on €13bn Irish tax bill

Tim Cook

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Apple boss Tim Cook has blasted the European Commission for landing his company with a 13 billion euro (£11 billion) bill for unpaid taxes in Ireland, calling it "political crap, maddening and untrue".

The chief executive expressed his fury at an audit by the watchdog in Brussels, which found it only paid tax of 0.005% in Ireland and 26.1% globally in 2014.

"It's maddening. It's maddening and disappointing," the Apple chief said. "It's clear that this comes from a political place. It has no basis in fact or in law."

From his base in Cupertino in California, Mr Cook told Ireland's state broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) the European Commission was over-reaching and attempting to retroactively target Apple and Irish laws with a political ruling.

He said: "When you are accused of something that is so foreign to your values, it brings out an outrage in you. That's how we feel.

"Apple has always been about doing the right thing, never the easy thing."

The company currently has about 6,000 employees and is planning to build a huge data centre in the country. 

In a separate interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Cook branded the European Commission ruling "political crap", but made it clear these plans were not going to be dropped in response to the record tax bill.

He said: "Our commitment to Ireland is unwavering. We are not going to let an invalid ruling, a politically based ruling, affect our deep commitment to Ireland."

Independent members of Ireland's fragile minority government are currently seeking legal explanations of the 130-page ruling from Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, and whether they should support Finance Minister Michael Noonan's call for an immediate legal challenge.

Controversy has raged across the country on whether to pursue the unpaid tax and risk the wrath of multinational corporations - which the Irish economy depends heavily upon - or to fight the EU finding. 

The cabinet met yesterday (Wednesday), but failed to reach agreement and will meet again on Friday as it puzzles over whether to accept the unprecedented windfall ordered by Brussels.