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Freshfields acts for Apple as tech giant looks to appeal €13bn EU tax ruling

Apple has turned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as it looks to appeal the European Commission’s ruling it must pay €13bn in back taxes to Ireland.

Earlier this week the EU commission ordered Irish tax authorities to collect taxes which it found amounted to illegal state aid under EU provisions. The ruling is the EU’s highest ever demand under rules that prohibits companies gaining market advantage through government help.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has refuted the findings that Ireland gave the company special deals and accused the EU Commission of rewriting the company’s record in Ireland. He has expressed confidence in winning an appeal.

Irish officials have also been up in arms about the ruling with the country’s finance minister Michael Noonan declaring he has no choice but to appeal the decision, adding: ‘This is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system, to provide tax certainty to business and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign member state competence of taxation.’

This is not the first time Freshfields has been drafted in to help Apple. The tech company brought in the Magic Circle firm to advise in the long running smartphone wars against Samsung and Motorola. The firm’s involvement includes guiding Apple through a ruling that found Motorola Mobility broke EU law by trying to use its patents to block sales of Apple products in Germany, and advising the tech giant on its failed bid claiming Samsung’s Galaxy Pad design is too similar to that of an iPad in 2012.

To read more on the Apple ruling see: ‘Guest post: The Apple story – a wider perspective’