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Ireland is looking for someone to hold onto the €15 billion from Apple's tax bill

The State is appealing the bill but will still need to collect the money first.

NY: Upper West Side Apple store in New York An Apple store on New York's Upper West Side. Source: Richard B. Levine/PA Images

THE STATE HAS begun the search for the financiers that could hold onto billions of euro in back taxes the EU Commission says Apple owes to Ireland.

The EU Commission ruled last year that the State gave the multinational tech giant illegal state aid worth up to €13 billion over a decade.

The Department of Finance is appealing the decision because it denies that there was any sweetheart deal in place.

Despite the appeal, Ireland is obliged to collect the funds and hold them in escrow until the appeal process is concluded.

On Sunday evening the National Treasury Management published a notice on the E-Tenders website seeking an agency to handle the multi-billion euro escrow.

PastedImage-21598 Source: e-tenders

The Department of Finance has said that the size of the fund is yet to be confirmed but may be between €13-15 billion, including EU interest.

The tender notice reads:

The NTMA, together with Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations Europe (AOE), is seeking expressions of interest for the provision of escrow agency and custodian services which Ireland is required to recover from  ASI and AOI.

The notice concludes by saying the duration of the escrow “cannot be fixed” because of the ongoing appeals process but that is expected to remain in place pending the outcome of the appeals.

Financial agencies interested in submitting a tender application are directed to do it electronically and the NTMA has said that it envisages up to five candidates will be considered.

The contract notice will also be published on an EU-wide tenders website and the Department of Finance said in a statement that it expects the procurement process to last for five months.

The sheer size of the funds involved has caused a delay in the collection process with Ireland missing the initial collection deadline back in January.

European Commission Fines Google 2.42 Billion Euros - Brussels European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager. Source: Monasse Thierry/PA Images

“Given the scale and bespoke nature of such a fund, the precise terms are still being negotiated and are subject to confidential and commercially sensitive considerations but will involve the appointment of independent third-party service providers,” the department said.

The EU’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager previously stated that Ireland was “taking too long” to recover the funds from Apple.

Vestager acknowledged that it was a complicated process when Ireland missed the initial deadline but said in May that she hoped Ireland would collect the funds “very soon”.

Read: ‘The Commission has exceeded its powers’: Government sets out 8 ways it will fight Apple ruling >

Read: Ireland is expected to get ‘large majority’ of Apple’s €13 billion unpaid tax bill >

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