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Apple engages London law firm to help fight tax bill battle

Apple will appeal against the EU Commission's claim that it secured unfair tax deals in the Republic
Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association

APPLE has instructed "magic circle" law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to help fight its legal war with the European Union over a €13 billion (£11bn) tax bill.

The tech giant will appeal against the EU Commission's claim that it secured unfair tax deals in the Republic.

The appeals process means City-headquartered Freshfields will represent Apple first in the EU's General Court, and later in the Court of Justice if the initial appeal fails.

The Republic and Apple have just over two months to appeal.

Considering the length of cases brought by Starbucks and Fiat after similar tax deals with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the process could take anywhere between 18 months and three years before a definitive ruling is handed down from European courts.

The Republic's Department of Finance has confirmed that Philip Baker QC, a specialist lawyer in EU corporate tax law, will be representing the government if it goes ahead with its own appeal.

Apple refused to comment on its outside counsel.

Freshfields has notable experience working with Apple on other cases.

A partner at the firm represented the company in a recent patent claim against Samsung, which argued the Korean firm ripped off its iPad design while developing the Samsung Galaxy tablet.

While the patent claim failed, it will not be the end of the legal firm's partnership with Apple.

Alongside the EU tax appeal, Freshfields will reportedly go on to advise Apple in an upcoming antitrust case launched by the US Department of Justice over e-book price fixing.

In Europe, all eyes will be on upcoming rulings on the appeals launched by Starbucks and Fiat last year, which could set precedents for Apple's legal battle.

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