Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has weighed into the tax dispute between technology giant Apple and the European Union, saying the Irish government should write a letter to the EU telling officials to “f*** off”.
Dubbing the EU’s ruling “bizarre”, the outspoken Irishman said: “One of the fundamental principles of the European Union is that each country has its autonomy to make its own tax decisions.
“Frankly, the Irish government should turn around – they shouldn’t even appeal the decision – they should just write a letter to Europe and tell them politely to f*** off.
“The idea that you have the state aid mob – who’ve had more court verdicts overturned than any other department in Europe in the last 20 years – come along 10 years after the fact and say, ‘No, we didn’t like that, we think you should have done something else’, is, frankly, bizarre.”
On Tuesday, Europe’s antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager slapped the maker of iPads and iPhones with a €13 billion (£11.1 billion) tax bill. She claimed Apple paid just 1% tax on its European profits in 2003 and 0.005% in 2014, and said its arrangement with the Irish government is illegal under state aid rules.
Apple is set to challenge the decision, and O’Leary added: “I think there’s no chance of this surviving a court ruling in Europe. There’s certain things that Europe has no competence in.”