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Tag - Ireland
A billion-dollar Apple data center in Ireland is currently on hold due to delays by the local environmental review board over concerns about the impact of the construction on local wildlife. Although the company received permission to build up to eight "data halls" or server buildings (approximately 263,000 square feet each) on the site, local residents registered concerns that the construction of the center will harm the local population of badgers, bats, and other animals. Local activists have called Apple's original environmental impact assessment (EIS) "inadequate," but the board (An Bord Pleanála) has been delaying a decision on the matter.
Following a meeting by Apple CEO Tim Cook with the head of the antitrust investigation against Ireland on behalf of the European Commission, Apple's CFO has told London's Financial Times that should Ireland be found guilty of giving companies like Apple "special state aid," Apple should owe nothing in back taxes. The crux of remarks by Luca Maestri is that Apple did not receive any special deal from Ireland, but if Ireland illegally lowered its tax rate to benefit corporations, it is the state -- and not the companies that benefitted from the lower rate -- that should pay any penalties.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has spent the past couple of days in Europe, where he met with the head of the European Commission's antitrust division as well as Pope Francis at the Vatican in a brief private meeting. On Thursday, Cook met with Margrethe Vestager, the antitrust chief, presumably to reiterate the company's innocence in the Irish tax scandal that could conceivably result in Apple owing billions in back taxes, despite the fact that Ireland's politicians appear to be the guilty party. Cook also met with some Italian developers as Apple opened a new development center in the country.
An Apple production facility in Ireland has been evacuated after it became the target of a bomb threat earlier today. The Cork facilities, which include premises on Lavitts Quay, Hollyhill, and Model Farm Road, were cleared of all 4,000 staff as a precautionary measure, following after the company received a number of threatening emails that it and local security forces considered to be credible enough for an evacuation.
Europe's business practice investigative organization, the European Commission, has chosen to investigate Apple's tax deal with Ireland closer. A series of expanded supplementary questions has been sent to the Irish government about the matter, likely pushing the final verdict well into 2016, and past Ireland's general elections, which could come as soon as February.
Apple is increasing its manufacturing presence in Ireland, by announcing it is hiring an extra 1,000 staff in the country. Foreign investment agency IDA Ireland confirmed the new jobs are being created in the country, with the current 5,000 positions in Apple's Cork office increasing by 1,000 by the middle of 2017 to approximately 6,000 employees, after already adding 1,000 employees in the last year alone.
An investigation into the tax-related finances of Apple in Europe will be completed by the end of this year, according to Ireland's finance minister. Michael Noon advised earlier today that the investigation by European Union regulators into whether or not Apple and other major multinational companies have benefited from using "illegal tax sweeteners" on the continent will be ruled upon in the coming weeks, one that could potentially cost companies millions.
Three more countries will begin selling the Apple Watch at retail, following in the steps of Belgium, which opened its first-ever Apple Store (which included the Apple Watch) in Brussels earlier on Saturday. Austria, Denmark, and Ireland will begin selling the Apple Watch on Friday, September 25, the same day it will go on sale from US carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. Also gaining the Apple Watch in the coming weeks are Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Apple is planning to build a single-story, 263,770-square-foot data center near the town of Athenry in County Galway in Ireland that is expected to be completed in 2017, but some residents of nearby communities have expressed concerns with the company's Environmental Impact Statement, saying that proposed generators that will help make the plant run entirely on renewable resources, as well as the development itself, may cause problems.
Europe's anti-trust agency, the European Commission (EC) will miss its own internal deadline for a ruling on the tax probe it has underway against Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon. Citing the need for justice and accuracy in its ruling, EC chief Margrethe Vestager said that "we will not sacrifice the rule of law or the quality of our work to speed up the process."