Nobel-winning economist calls Apple's business practices 'fraud'

Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz blasted Apple on Thursday, calling its alleged use of Ireland to avoid taxes “fraud.”

“Here we have the largest corporation in capitalisation not only in America, but in the world, bigger than GM was at its peak, and claiming that most of its profits originate from about a few hundred people working in Ireland — that’s a fraud,” Stiglitz told Bloomberg. “A tax law that encourages American firms to keep jobs abroad is wrong, and I think we can get a consensus in America to get that changed.”

Apple’s website says it employs 5,500 people in Ireland, and 76,000 people in the US. A large number of Apple’s employees in Ireland work in customer services where they help people with software issues and other problems, while the vast majority of Apple’s R&D work is done in the US.

A combination of US tax law and Apple’s corporate structure makes it possible for the company to shift money to places like Ireland, which has a corporate tax rate is a mere 12.5%.

Based on Apple’s latest earnings report, of Apple’s whopping $232 billion in cash, $215 billion is outside the US.

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