The Irish government has reportedly selected Bank of New York Mellon to control an escrow fund holding up to $18.6 billion in back taxes collected from Apple, pending attempts to reverse a ruling by the European Commission.
Operational arrangements for the fund should be finalized in the next few weeks, and a procurement process for investment managers is underway, the government's finance department informed Reuters on Wednesday. Apple should start paying into the fund in the second quarter of the year.
The European Commission first ordered Ireland to collect back taxes in August 2016, saying that the country had offered preferential tax treatment to Apple for years, even reverse-engineering rules on the fly. By E.U. law, benefits extended to one company must be available to all others.
Both Apple and Ireland have denied any misconduct, and are pursuing appeals. The Commission is launching its own court case, noting that Ireland was originally supposed to have collected the money in January 2017 — it has however said it's willing to withdraw the case if Ireland collects the full sum in the near future.
Despite its low tax contributions, Apple has become important to the Irish economy. A major headquarters is located near Cork, and one of two European data centers is slated for construction near Athenry.