Ireland Said to Seek Protection From Losses on Apple’s Billions

  • Irish state ordered to collect 13 billion euros from Apple
  • Money will be held in account pending appeal of EU decision

Apple's campus in Cork, Ireland, on Sept. 2, 2016.

Photographer: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

Ireland is seeking ways to indemnify itself against any losses stemming from holding about 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) of Apple Inc.’s back taxes, according to two people familiar with the follow-up to last year’s record-breaking European Union state-aid ruling.

As Apple prepares to hand over the money for safe keeping, Ireland wants to make sure it isn’t left on the hook for any drop in the value of the fund during years of appeals at the EU courts, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations on the structure of the proposed account are ongoing.

In an order that reverberated across the Atlantic, the European Commission last year slapped Apple with the multibillion-euro bill, saying Ireland granted unfair deals that reduced the company’s effective corporate tax rate.

If the appeal, which could take as long as five years, is successful, the money will be returned to Apple. A Finance Ministry spokesman declined to comment.

Ireland should step up its efforts to recoup about unpaid taxes from Apple or it could end up in court, the EC said last month. The money was due to be collected by Jan. 3 deadline. The government is preparing a tender seeking offers to collect and manage the money, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said in Dublin on Thursday.

Ireland has used indemnities before to protect itself. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland was part funded by a German state-owned development bank when the SBCI was set up in 2014. 

As part of that process, the Irish government agreed to make good potential losses the Germans might suffer. In turn, the finance ministry is entitled to claim losses back from the SBCI.

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