Tim Cook has lashed out at the EU's decision to recover a decade's worth of back taxes from Apple, calling it "total political crap" and accusing Europe of anti-US sentiment.
The chief executive said Ireland is being picked on and that both have played by the rules in an interview with the Irish Independent.
"They just picked a number from I don't know where. In the year that the Commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400m. We believe that makes us the highest taxpayer in Ireland that year," he said.
Europe's competition watchdog has ordered that Ireland reclaim €13bn in unpaid taxes from Apple after an investigation which concluded it had an effective tax rate of just one per cent, amounting to state aid.
"I think that Apple was targeted here. And I think that [anti-U.S. sentiment] is one reason why we could have been targeted. I think it's a desire to reallocate taxes that should be paid in the US to the EU," he said.
Cook wants Ireland to appeal the decision and he is confident Apple can win, he told the newspaper. Irish ministers will meet again on Friday to discuss fighting the ruling in court after failing to come to a decision earlier in the week.
In a separate interview with the Irish state broadcaster RTE, Cook called the ruling "maddening" and "wrong headed".
Outspoken Irish entrepreneur and Ryanair founder Michael O'Leary yesterday added his voice to the list of critics of the decision.
"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**k off," he said.
Transfer deadline day