As Apple continues to face a legal battle with the European Commission concerning the regulator's claim that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland and owes billions in back taxes, the latest development has seen the Cupertino company decline an invitation to testify before a special committee on the tax evasion claims (via Reuters).
According to a letter to the European Parliament shared on Twitter today by Parliament member Sven Giegold, Apple said it "will not be able to participate in a public hearing" on the topic of tax evasion.
The company's senior director for European government affairs, Claire Thwaites, explained that while the company appeals the Commission's decision alleging state aid from Ireland, "it is important to ensure public commentary does not prejudice those proceedings."
This is rotten! #Apple refuses to testify before the special committee on tax evasion of the European Parliament. No company stands above democracy! We should now withdraw Apple's lobby badges to access to the Parliament! This is the company's letter: pic.twitter.com/U2I4G6jNp9 — Sven Giegold (@sven_giegold) June 1, 2018
Since the appeal is ongoing and likely to be heard at the General Court in the near future we will not be able to participate in a public hearing on this topic as it could be detrimental to the proceedings at the Court, and any potential appeals thereafter.
I'd like to emphasize that we have the deepest respect for the Committee, it's members and the important work you are undertaking. We would be happy to meet privately with you or other Committee members and address any questions you may have.
Despite Apple's appeal, the company has started paying the 13 billion euros in back taxes to the Irish government this month. Like the wording in Thwaites' letter today, Apple has remained adamant that the company follows the law and pays "every cent of tax" it owes "in every country" it operates. In the wake of the legal battle, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the decision "total political crap" back in 2016, saying that "the decision is wrong, and it's not based on law or facts, it's based on politics. And I think it's very important that we stand up and say that very loudly."
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