On July 22, 2017 the Irish Ministry of Finance issued a press release announcing the launch of the procurement process in relation to Apple state aid recovery.
On August 30, 2016 the European Commission announced that it had concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. In its decision the European Commission o.a. also decided that:
· Ireland shall recover the aid from Apple Sales International.
· Ireland shall recover the aid from Apple Operations Europe.
· The sums to be recovered shall bear interest from the date on which they were put at the disposal of the beneficiaries until their actual recovery.
· Recovery of the aid shall be immediate and effective.
Since then both the Irish Government and Apple have filed appeals against the decision of the European Commission.
On July 22, 2017 the Irish Ministry of Finance published the following press release on its website:
“Statement from Minister Donohoe on launch of procurement process in relation to Apple state aid recovery
The Government is fully committed to ensuring that recovery of the Apple state aid takes place without delay and has committed significant resources to ensuring this is achieved, notwithstanding the appeal lodged in 2016.
The recovery amount will be paid into an escrow fund with final release when there has been a final determination in the European Courts over the validity of the European Commission’s Decision.
Given the scale and bespoke nature of such a fund, the precise terms are still being negotiated and are subject to confidential and commercially sensitive deliberations.
As part of the establishment of the escrow fund, an escrow agent/custodian will be appointed by Apple and the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform (the Minister) to hold and administer the escrow fund.
The services of the escrow agent/custodian will be procured in accordance with the European Union (Award of Public Authority Contracts) Regulations 2016.
The Minister is appointing the NTMA as his agent to run this procurement process.
Further information will be published shortly in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Commencement of this procurement process represents a significant milestone and follows months of intensive discussions between Ireland, Apple and the European Commission on the recovery process.
Setting up of the escrow fund will also involve the appointment of one or more investment managers to manage the escrow fund. A separate competitive tender process will be run for these appointments in due course.
Irish officials are continuing their intensive work to ensure that the State complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible, and remain in regular contact with the European Commission and Apple on all aspects of this process.
Commenting on the recovery process, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D. said:
“Work has long been on-going to ensure that the State complies with its recovery obligations. With the launch of this public procurement process for the appointment of an escrow agent/custodian, I welcome the significant progress being made and I look forward to the completion of the recovery process.
Due to the unprecedented quantum involved, and the complexities of the European Commission Decision, this is a novel and highly intricate process requiring time to implement. I welcome the continued understanding of the European Commission on this matter.””
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