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Irish city nervous about EC probe of Apple

Mayor sees huge economic damage if tax deal turns out to be illegal state aid

CORK, Ireland

PERCHED on top of a hill overlooking the Irish city of Cork, surrounded by a dated industrial estate, Apple's European headquarters is an unlikely base for the world tech giant - now under growing scrutiny over its local tax arrangements.

The company has been in Cork since 1980 but the European Commission's (EC) suggestion that its tax deal with Ireland may amount to illegal state aid has drawn new attention on the Irish link for the makers of the iPhone and the iPad.

"We'd be devastated without Apple," Cork's mayor, Mary Shields, told AFP. "It worries me, and would be hugely damaging to the economy if anything happened to Apple."

Apple has reportedly been paying an effective corporate...

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