Apple CEO Tim Cook declines Ireland committee invite, branded as 'snub to Irish people'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2017
Irish politicians are accusing Apple CEO Tim Cook of snubbing the country's legislature, and by association the entirety of Ireland, by declining an invitation to answer questions about the European Union's recent tax ruling.




Cook, along with other high-ranking Apple executives, were last month invited by Chairman of the Oireachtas all-party Finance Committee, John McGuinness, to take part in a series of hearings relating to an EU tax decision that saddled Apple with a $14.5 billion penalty.

Apple recently informed the committee that Cook would not attend, vaguely citing the complex legal machinations in play, reports The Independent.

"As you will appreciate, this is a complex and challenging issue, and one on which we are receiving ongoing legal counsel. We are engaging with the Department of Finance and The Revenue Commissions, as well as the European Commission," Claire Thwaites, director of Apple EMEIA government affairs, said in a written response.

Thwaites went on to say legal counsel had advised Apple to avoid conduct that would compromise its ongoing appeal.

"Given the sensitive nature of the investigation and the timing, we have been advised not to undertake any other direct activities, which could potentially prejudice future outcomes," she wrote. "It is on this basis that we are unable to appear before the Committee on this occasion."

Sinn F?in politician Pearse Doherty took exception to Apple's refusal.

"Disappointed and angry at Apple decision to refuse to attend Finance Committee. Legal excuse doesn't add up-others involved attending!," he said. "Will push Committee to ask Apple to reconsider. Tim Cook attended Senate hearings and claimed a deal was in place. Dail deserves same respect."

Doherty is likely referring to EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, who is slated to explain and defend the tax ruling at Ireland's hearings next month.

Other politicians piled on, with Irish Labor Party's Se?n Sherlock saying, "I can't see why Mr Cook wouldn't appear before the committee. The issue is not sub judice and it would provide an opportunity for a public airing by Apple beyond the confines of government buildings." He added that the refusal was "a missed opportunity by Cook to speak directly to his employees in Ireland through the committee."

After years of examining Apple's European finances, the Commission in August found the company in breach of regional regulations and ordered it to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes. The investigation concluded that Apple received preferential tax benefits, which amounts to illegal state aid, from Ireland since at least 2003.

Both Apple and Ireland are appealing the ruling. In the coming weeks the company will likely have to pony up the $14.5 billion sum, which will be held in escrow as the potentially years-long appeals process moves forward.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    Meh. The bill to repatriate those overseas billions will pass quickly after Trump takes office and many companies will take advantage of the 10% tax. If Ireland continues to buckle under and do the EU's bidding, they deserve to lose every single company that unwisely decided to locate there.
    pulseimagesboltsfan17potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 2 of 37
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,937member
    Meh. The bill to repatriate those overseas billions will pass quickly after Trump takes office and many companies will take advantage of the 10% tax. If Ireland continues to buckle under and do the EU's bidding, they deserve to lose every single company that unwisely decided to locate there.
    Ageed.  And again, I really wish Apple would tell the EU and any grandstanding Irish politicians to go f**k themselves.  Government is ridiculous.  They can just decide that--SURPISE!--you owe 14.5 billion in taxes for the last however many years.  I say Apple just ignores the ruling.  What are they going to do? Raid their offices with the guns they don't carry?  Or, as you implied...Apple should call their bluff.  Highlight the jobs and revenue Apple brings and threaten to pull out if they don't back off.  
    calipulseimagesSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 37
     I can say this is a shareholder since 1999 and an Irish man (occupied counties) - Good call Apple, I wasteful charade. The Shiners will milk it to gain points against the capitalist US tyrant that robbed their land and innocent people, whilst never once mentioning Cork manufacturing etc....
    pulseimagesSpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 37
    This may be a failure by the Irish politicians to understand US law.  If Cook et al. are discussing issues with the US authorities, they will not want to blow any privilege attaching to communications with their lawyers concerning those discussions.  Talking openly, even in generalities, has been held to blow the privilege of all such communications.  Much safer to say nothing than to inadvertently handicap yourself by giving away privileged information.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    So Ireland and Apple are both independently appealing an EU decision – and the Ireland legislature wants an on-record open interview with senior Apple executives. Are they f'n crazy? That's the dumbest thing I have heard in 2016+2017 combined!
    pscooter63brucemcpulseimagesjfc1138GeorgeBMacSpamSandwichurahara
  • Reply 6 of 37
    Apple has nothing to gain by further discussing their business's legal and tax positions in Europe with the Irish or European Union authorities. They have earlier, through Cook and company, explained their position.
    As I have previously read, Apple has hedged and set aside money in response to the upcoming decision. Whether Apple pays the 14 B. to the Irish or are proportionally taxed in a US repatriation of those funds, the die has been caste.
    Apple has no desire to come between the European Union and a potentially errant member state.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    Wow. Prickly Irish. Tim Cook has a $250B global business to run. He can't be running around making appearances in front of every tom-dick-harry government around the world. 

    In fact, I maintain (and had then said) that he made a mistake showing up in front of some bozo US Congressmen a couple of years ago. It was a complete waste of time. 
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 37
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 338member
    Apple execs should go, press some flesh, make friends, but refuse, based on legal advice, to discuss the merits of the appeal. Simply, Cook et al. should only discuss the substance of the legal process issues.

    Apple and their legal really fucked this up!!
    brucemcbobrooSpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 37
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member
    joebloggs said:
    This may be a failure by the Irish politicians to understand US law.  If Cook et al. are discussing issues with the US authorities, they will not want to blow any privilege attaching to communications with their lawyers concerning those discussions.  Talking openly, even in generalities, has been held to blow the privilege of all such communications.  Much safer to say nothing than to inadvertently handicap yourself by giving away privileged information.
    Help me to understand what on earth this has to do with US Law please.

    As I understand it, the tax liability exists for earnings in the past and is based on and determined by EU regulations and Irish tax law for the relevant period in the past.
    singularityavon b7
  • Reply 10 of 37
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    joebloggs said:
    This may be a failure by the Irish politicians to understand US law.  If Cook et al. are discussing issues with the US authorities, they will not want to blow any privilege attaching to communications with their lawyers concerning those discussions.  Talking openly, even in generalities, has been held to blow the privilege of all such communications.  Much safer to say nothing than to inadvertently handicap yourself by giving away privileged information.
    Cook et al. are discussing it with Irish and EU authorities.
    "As you will appreciate, this is a complex and challenging issue, and one on which we are receiving ongoing legal counsel. We are engaging with the Department of Finance and The Revenue Commissions, as well as the European Commission," Claire Thwaites, director of Apple EMEIA government affairs, said in a written response. "

  • Reply 11 of 37
    Absolute rubbish. I live in Ireland, and it is difficult to get get politicians and senior figures here to account for themselves. Why should anybody expect Tim Cook to travel here for this bull. The tax setup is and has been here for decades to benefit outside companies, they provide jobs. Oil, banking and pharma companies make use of the same systems, but nobody is bringing this up. All down to lobbyists. Apple is aa EU scapegoat, because they are transparent and, well they have plenty of cash floating about and every body wants some.
    brucemcbrakkenSpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 37
    Wow. Prickly Irish. Tim Cook has a $250B global business to run. He can't be running around making appearances in front of every tom-dick-harry government around the world. 

    In fact, I maintain (and had then said) that he made a mistake showing up in front of some bozo US Congressmen a couple of years ago. It was a complete waste of time. 
    What!

    The last time that I checked, Apple, Inc. had a market value of $621.1 billion!

    What happened?!?!?!
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 37
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,385member
    sdw2001 said:
    Meh. The bill to repatriate those overseas billions will pass quickly after Trump takes office and many companies will take advantage of the 10% tax. If Ireland continues to buckle under and do the EU's bidding, they deserve to lose every single company that unwisely decided to locate there.
    Ageed.  And again, I really wish Apple would tell the EU and any grandstanding Irish politicians to go f**k themselves.  Government is ridiculous.  They can just decide that--SURPISE!--you owe 14.5 billion in taxes for the last however many years.  I say Apple just ignores the ruling.  What are they going to do? Raid their offices with the guns they don't carry?  Or, as you implied...Apple should call their bluff.  Highlight the jobs and revenue Apple brings and threaten to pull out if they don't back off.  
    ok, they employee a few people in Ireland.  But what revenue are you referring to?  Apple structures itself to pay as little tax in an area as possible
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 14 of 37
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,228member
    Meh. The bill to repatriate those overseas billions will pass quickly after Trump takes office and many companies will take advantage of the 10% tax. If Ireland continues to buckle under and do the EU's bidding, they deserve to lose every single company that unwisely decided to locate there.

    They wanted 5% from Obama. What makes you think they'll take 10% from Trump?
    frankie
  • Reply 15 of 37
    I think if Tim Cook wants to speak directly to his employees in Ireland he'll speak directly to his employees in Ireland, not through a political committee. My guess is the Apple offices in Ireland have an electronic communications system commonly called "email" by which Cook can send messages to all employees simultaneously and directly. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 37
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    sdw2001 said:
    What are they going to do? Raid their offices with the guns they don't carry?  Or, as you implied...Apple should call their bluff.  Highlight the jobs and revenue Apple brings and threaten to pull out if they don't back off.  
    So telling. Wild West Buckaroo much. 
    gwydion
  • Reply 17 of 37
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    sdw2001 said:
    Meh. The bill to repatriate those overseas billions will pass quickly after Trump takes office and many companies will take advantage of the 10% tax. If Ireland continues to buckle under and do the EU's bidding, they deserve to lose every single company that unwisely decided to locate there.
    Ageed.  And again, I really wish Apple would tell the EU and any grandstanding Irish politicians to go f**k themselves.  Government is ridiculous.  They can just decide that--SURPISE!--you owe 14.5 billion in taxes for the last however many years.  I say Apple just ignores the ruling.  What are they going to do? Raid their offices with the guns they don't carry?  Or, as you implied...Apple should call their bluff.  Highlight the jobs and revenue Apple brings and threaten to pull out if they don't back off.  
    Do you really believe those things you write? Do you really believe that a  company can ignore a judicial ruling?
    Sometimes, I think Appleinsider people live in their own fantasy bubble.
    fracfrankiesingularityavon b7jfanning
  • Reply 18 of 37
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    Meh. The bill to repatriate those overseas billions will pass quickly after Trump takes office and many companies will take advantage of the 10% tax. If Ireland continues to buckle under and do the EU's bidding, they deserve to lose every single company that unwisely decided to locate there.
    And where they will go if they want to operate in the EU?

    Or are you saying that all the companies should leave the EU?v Are you serious?
    frankiesingularityjfanning
  • Reply 19 of 37
    YvLyYvLy Posts: 75member
    Can you imagine what the world press would say IF Tim Cook would accept the invitation???? I can see the headlines: "Apple lecturing EU about tax laws" ...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 37
    DCJ0001 said:
    Wow. Prickly Irish. Tim Cook has a $250B global business to run. He can't be running around making appearances in front of every tom-dick-harry government around the world. 

    In fact, I maintain (and had then said) that he made a mistake showing up in front of some bozo US Congressmen a couple of years ago. It was a complete waste of time. 
    What!

    The last time that I checked, Apple, Inc. had a market value of $621.1 billion!

    What happened?!?!?!
    Tim Cook doesn't "run" the market value of Apple -- the market does. He produces revenue and profits. Apple's revenue this calendar year will be a bit south if $250B, I am guessing.
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