Apple’s European tax practices came to the EU Commission’s attention after the US Senate “tipped us off”, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a speech in Copenhagen, according to Bloomberg.
“Because the U.S. Senate cares as much as we do about making sure companies pay their fair share of tax,” she said in prepared remarks for a speech in Copenhagen. “And it was their investigation into Apple — and U.S. transparency rules — that tipped us off that the company might have received state aid.”
After two years of investigation, Vestager and her team recently handed down a ruling which found that Apple received illegal state aid between 2003 and 2014, and which instructed Ireland to recoup CAD$18.9 billion in back taxes from the iPhone maker.
Vestager’s decision was heavily criticized across the Atlantic for ordering Apple repay that sum, but the commissioner says the “story of the Apple investigation began in the United States”, not Europe.
You may recall that Apple was in hot water over its tax matters in the US after the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that Apple avoided paying $9 billion in U.S. taxes in 2012 alone. Tim Cook testified before Congress and denied any wrongdoing.