Opening Bell: Ireland's Apple legal payments, Dublin rents pass boom-levels, investor's lawsuit against VW

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The Department of Finance paid close to €300,000 in legal fees relating to the European Commission's state aid investigation into Apple's tax payments in Ireland last year.

The Irish Independent reports that €151,691 was paid to British barrister Philip Baker, while €55,052 and €89,184 was due to Irish barristers Aoife Goodman and Maurice G Collins.

Both Michael Noonan and Apple have said that the company was not given a 'sweetheart deal' and that they are ready to appeal if the investigation suggests that there was any wrongdoing.

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The cost of renting in Dublin has passed the levels at the peak of the boom for the first time.

The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) says rents in the capital are almost half a percent higher than they were in 2007, due to a rise of nearly 2% in the last quarter of 2015.

Nationally, rents rose by almost 10% last year, but rents outside Dublin are still 14.5% lower than they were at their peak.

The PRTB says, overall, the rate of growth in rental prices eased in the last part of the year.

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Nearly 300 large investors from around the world have filed a $3.6bn lawsuit over the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The German company is being accused of breaching its obligations to capital markets.

Last year VW admitted that it fitted "defeat devices" in its cars which fooled emission tests.

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A US software company has announced it's creating 60 new jobs in Galway.

Ipswitch, which develops IT security systems, says it'll set up its Europe Middle East and Africa support operations here.

The Irish roles are expected to be filled over the next five years.