“Apple will be accused of prospering from illegal tax deals with the Irish government for more than two decades when Brussels this week unveils details of a probe that could leave the iPhone maker with a record fine of as much as several billions of euros,” Tim Bradshaw, Alex Barker and Vanessa Houlder report for The Financial Times.

“Preliminary findings from the European Commission’s investigation into Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland, where it has had a rate of less than 2 per cent, claim the Silicon Valley company benefited from illicit state aid after striking backroom deals with Ireland’s authorities, according to people involved in the case,” Bradshaw, Barker and Houlder report. “Apple, which has operated in Ireland since 1980, maintains that its agreements with Ireland did not break any laws. ‘There’s never been any special deal, there’s never been anything that would be construed as state aid,’ Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, told the Financial Times.”

“Based on its concerns, the commission has decided to open an in-depth investigation of arrangements between Apple and the Irish authorities dating back to 1991. It is part of a wider crackdown on what Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, has called “aggressive” multinational tax avoidance,” Bradshaw, Barker and Houlder report. “‘We know that we didn’t do anything that was against the law and we are very confident that through the investigation it will be shown that there was no selective treatment in our favour at any point in time,’ Mr Maestri said… The company has invested $100m in its Irish operations in recent years, he noted, and is among Cork’s biggest employers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hoping that Apple did something outside the realm of legality so that you can get your hands on even more billions to flush down the toilet isn’t the same as proving anything.

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