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Apple to pay Italy 318m euros after tax fraud probe

Apple Inc said customers spent over US$1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases in the two weeks ending Jan 3, setting a record for holiday season sales.

[ROME] Apple has agreed to pay Italian authorities 318 million euros (S$491 million) to settle a tax dispute after the US tech giant was accused of dodging payments, the tax office said Tuesday.

The company's Italian subsidiary has been under investigation for allegedly failing to declare more than one billion euros to the tax authorities, according to Italian daily La Repubblica.

The tax office spokesman confirmed the newspaper's report was accurate but would not divulge further details of the confidential case.

Apple Italia did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

According to La Repubblica, the payment followed months of negotiations and corresponded to the full amount demanded by the Italian authorities in relation to the 2008-13 tax years.

It comes against a backdrop of mounting controversy over the tax arrangements of multinational groups who use cross-border corporate structures to reduce their tax bills.

Apple Italia is part of the company's European operation which is headquartered in Ireland, a country with one of the lowest levels of corporation tax in the European Union.

Earlier this month, Apple chief Tim Cook described accusations that the world's richest company was sidestepping US taxes by stashing cash overseas as "political crap" and insisted: "We pay every tax dollar we owe."