The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into a UK government tax exemption to multinational companies that could amount to illegal state aid.
The European Commission today issued two decisions: forcing Luxembourg to recover €250 million in unpaid tax from Amazon, and referring Ireland to the European Court of Justice for delayed recovery of €13 billion in unpaid tax from Apple – leaving commentators questioning whether the enforcer incorrectly applied state aid laws to clamp down on corporate tax deals.
Germany’s Federal Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the discount in fees Ryanair received from Lübeck Blankensee airport did not amount to state aid; unlike the European Court of Justice, the German court held that the European Commission’s opening decisions do not have a binding effect on national courts.
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating global semiconductor company Broadcom, reportedly for an antitrust violation by forcing customers to purchase a certain percentage of its product and limiting other customers’ product access.
Former Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez has said that there is currently a lot of uncertainty about US antitrust enforcement, but several pending cases will determine its direction.
The state aid investigations into EU member states’ tax rulings appear to be breaking new ground, as the union’s antitrust watchdog collaborates with its regulatory counterparts to push through policy reform. Tom Webb examines the investigation and what lies ahead.
A panel of experts, including former US Department of Justice acting antitrust head Renata Hesse, have lamented the development of unilateral conduct cases in Europe, and voiced concerns that the European Commission may be motivated by politics and public relations. Sonya Lalli in Washington, DC
Claudio Donato Monge and Marco López Volio
Daniel Pino Arroba and Paulette Ocampo
Alejandra Palacios Prieto
Paloma Alcántara and Fernando Carreño
Davit Akman, Ian Macdonald and François Baril
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Satyen Dhana, Christine Graham and Jacqueline Vallat
CMS Cameron McKenna (London)