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EU to scrap lawsuit against Ireland after Apple pays back taxes

EU to scrap lawsuit against Ireland after Apple pays back taxes
European Union antitrust regulators plan to drop legal action against Ireland after iPhone maker Apple paid the country €13.1 billion ($15.3 billion) in back taxes.

The lawsuit was initiated in 2017 by the EU which severely criticized Dublin for moving too slowly in recovering the money.

“In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal state aid it had received from Ireland, commissioner Margrethe Vestager will be proposing to the college of commissioners the withdrawal of this court action,” the European Commission’s spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said.

The commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives from the Irish government. Both Apple and Dublin appealed the initial ruling, claiming the tax treatment had been in line with Irish and EU law.

Ireland’s finance ministry began collecting the back taxes in a series of payments in May.

“While the government fundamentally disagrees with the commission’s analysis and is seeking an annulment of that decision, as committed members of the European Union, we have always confirmed that we would recover the alleged state aid,” Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, said in a statement.

The ministry also said that its appeal had been granted priority status and is progressing through various stages of proceedings before the general court of the European Union (GCEU) which is Europe’s second highest court.

It will likely take several years to be settled by the European courts, according to the ministry.

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