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Apple boss Tim Cook will NOT be coming to Leinster House

Cook was invited to speak before the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Image: Richard Drew

APPLE WILL NOT be attending an Oireachtas Finance Committee hearing on the European Commission’s Apple Tax ruling.

The committee had invited the global tech giant and its CEO Tim Cook to attend the hearing but members have been informed that Apple and Cook have declined.

The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who delivered the bombshell ruling in August, is expected to be in attendance at the hearings which are to begin later this month.

The Irish government is appealing the European Commission ruling which found that Apple must pay Ireland €13 billion in back taxes.

The committee’s hearing is expected to look at the implications of the European Commission’s ruling and will allow the various players to put their positions on the record.

Committee member Pearse Doherty TD says that Apple has cited legal reasons for their decision not to attend.

“Apple have said that they have been advised not to undertake any other direct activities which prejudice future outcomes,” Doherty said, adding that he doesn’t feel this excuse is acceptable.

In my view Tim Cook’s argument doesn’t hold water. I’m sure many of your readers heard Tim Cook address the Irish media straight after the investigation was partially published. He has no problem talking to journalists both home and abroad but will not answer questions to Irish parliamentarians and that’s not acceptable.

After the European Commission’s preliminary ruling was published, Cook went on Irish radio to say that Apple pays corporate tax in Ireland at 12.5%.

In 2013, Cook also appeared before a US subcommittee hearing in which he was quizzed on Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland. Cook was asked to explain why his firm transferred 64% of its income to Irish subsidiaries.

Cook also the US politicians told Apple’s Irish subsidiaries paid an effective tax rate of around 2%.

Doherty has described Apple’s decision not to attend as a ‘setback’ but feels the Taoiseach should intervene to encourage the company to reconsider.

“The fact that Tim Cook and Apple have decided not to come before us is a serious setback and we’ll be calling on Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan to use their influence on Apple to encourage them to respect the committee of the Irish parliament.”

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

Read: Explainer: Why doesn’t the government want Apple to cough up extra taxes? >

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Rónán Duffy

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