An Irish finance committee member has said that there is ‘a strong likelihood’ that Apple CEO Tim Cook will appear before a European Union hearing to discuss the ruling that the company must pay $13B ($15B) in additional taxes in the country – just as he did with a U.S. Senate hearing into the company’s tax affairs.

The Irish Times reports that an EU meeting has been scheduled in January to examine the background to the ruling and to discuss its implications, and that Cook is likely to accept an invitation to attend …

The EU ruled that the Irish government had broken the law by entering into a ‘sweetheart’ arrangement with Apple, allowing it to funnel all its European sales through the country and paying an extremely low rate of tax. It said that Ireland must recover €13B of underpaid tax from Apple.

Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin’s spokesman on finance and a member of the committee, said there was a strong likelihood that Mr Cook would be willing to appear before the committee given the gravity and implications of the ruling.

The Irish government has joined Apple in appealing against the ruling, but minority party Sinn Féin wants the government to accept the money.

The full 130-page report explaining the basis of the EU’s ruling has not yet been published, as Apple is allowed time to request redaction of commercially-sensitive information. The report is expected to be published in the day the hearing takes place.

“We will be particularly keen to ask Mr Cook and other senior Apple managers about their appearance at US congressional hearings where they admitted that Apple’s effective tax rates for its subsidiaries in Ireland was 2 per cent, well below the headline corporate tax rate of 12.5 per cent,” said Mr Doherty.

The issue has generated strong views on both sides of the Atlantic, with a marked divide between U.S. and European views.

Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters