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Apple Loses Lawsuit against French Tax Activists
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Photo courtesy of Mac Rumors.

Summary: Apple lost its legal fight against the French tax campaign group, Attac.

Attac has defeated Apple. The French tax campaign group has argued that the technology giant has avoided paying taxes, and this week, a French judge dismissed Apple’s attempt to ban Attac from protesting at its stores.

  
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“The court has recognized the legitimacy of our actions and went as far as to say we behaved in the general interest,” Attac spokesman Raphael Pradeau said to The Local.

According to the BBC, Attac has held protests at Apple shops in Paris and Aix-en-Provence because it believes Apple avoids its tax obligations. Last year, Apple filed a lawsuit, hoping to ban the group, and it stated that they needed the ban to protect its customers and employees.

The tech company sought an injunction after Attac held protests at Apple’s flagship store in Paris, and the group’s antics included a conga line and a sit-in. In its legal documents, Apple said that they felt the protestors threatened “imminent damage.”

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But this week, a Paris court sided with Attac, saying that the group’s past behavior was not enough reason to ban them from the sleek technology stores. The court said that the protestors did not appear dangerous last year, and it also threw out Apple’s request to fine the group €150,000 and impose damages if they protested again.

Attac protested Apple because it and other tech firms have been criticized publicly for failing to pay taxes. The group said that they planned to do more protests at Apple shops in France.



In 2016, the European Commission ruled that Apple needed to pay €13 billion in unpaid taxes to the Republic of Ireland. Ireland disputed the collection, saying that it had given Apple tax breaks. That case is still pending, but Apple has already given the country the money, where it is being held in an escrow account.

“The Commission’s 2016 state aid decision found that, over many years, tax rulings issued by Ireland had allowed Apple to pay less tax on profits recorded in Ireland than other companies subject to (the) same national taxation laws,” a spokesman for the European Commission said. “This gave Apple an illegal advantage in breach of EU state aid rules, which must now be recovered by Ireland — nothing has changed in that regard.”

In a blog post, Attac said that they were “defending the public interest” and that their protests were not violent. Instead, Attac said the protests were “festive.”

Attac’s lawyer, Julien Pignon, told France Info that Apple’s lawsuit was not aligned with the group’s freedoms.

“These demands are totally out of proportion with regard to the superior principle of freedom of expression and freedom to demonstrate which is guaranteed by French law and the European convention on human rights,” Pignon said.

What do you think of Apple? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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