Opening Bell: US Treasury hits out at EU over Apple case, internet giants slammed for failing to block terrorists

Get up to speed with today's breaking Irish and international business news

The United States Treasury has warned that the European Commission's investigations into American companies such as Apple undermine the global tax system.

The US argues that potentially demanding back taxes from those concerned would set an "undesirable precedent" in a paper seen by the Irish Independent.

The 25-page white paper states:

"Because the Commission's approach departs from prior practice, it should not be applied retroactively.

"Indeed, it would be inconsistent with EU legal principles to do so. Moreover, imposing retroactive recoveries would undermine the G20s efforts to improve tax certainty and set an undesirable precedent for tax authorities in other countries."

The complaint comes ahead of a decision on the Apple case, which should be delivered in September or October.

The US Treasury adds that it will join Ireland in launching an appeal if the case goes against the tech giant.

______________________________________________________

Irish companies are losing out on billions of euros in Government tenders.

Some €90 billion euros in supplies, services and works will be procured in Ireland and Northern Ireland over the next five years.

However, there are claims that a sizeable slice of those contracts are being won by overseas companies because local firms aren't aggressive or professional enough.

Peter Brennan, chairman of tender consultancy organisation Bid Management Services, has said:

"Companies really do need to up their game to get these extra contracts. And they're well achievable.

"In most other countries, about 2% of the total value of government contracts goes outside the country. In Ireland, it's five times that at 11%. And it's worth the best part of €8bn over the next five years."

______________________________________________________

Leading internet and social media companies are "consciously failing" to stop their sites being used by terrorist groups, according to a number of British MPs.

YouTube in particular faced criticism recently after videos uploaded by the convicted extremist Anjem Choudary remained on the site after he was found guilty of encouraging support for IS.

Google, which owns YouTube, was implored in a new report from the UK's Home Affairs Select Committee to show "a greater sense of responsibility".

Committee chair Keith Vaz said:

"The global revenues of companies like Google and Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, it runs into hundreds of billions of dollars, and they're just not putting enough people on the job to take down terrorist content."

______________________________________________________

Blackstone Group is set to sell the former Burlington Hotel in Dublin to a German financial firm, the Irish Times reports.

The paper has identified either DekaBank, owned by a group of German savings banks, or DZ Bank's investment arm Union Investment, as the potential buyer.

Blackstone, which is the world's biggest private equity property investor, is looking to double its investment by putting a €180m price tag on the now-Doubletree by Hilton hotel.

Dalata, the country's largest hotel operator, confirmed yesterday that it had entered into exclusive talks with the buying party to lease and operate the hotel if a sale goes ahead.