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Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sure, we’re using a huge tax loophole to hide money in Ireland, but I won’t bring it back “until I get a fair rate”

Apple CEO Tim Cook struck back at critics of the iPhone maker’s strategy to avoid paying U.S. taxes, telling The Washington Post in a wide ranging interview that the company would not bring that money back from abroad unless there was a “fair rate.”

Along with other multinational companies, the tech giant has been subject to criticism over a tax strategy that allows them to shelter profits made abroad from the U.S. corporate tax rate, which at 35 percent is among the highest in the developed world.

The move complies with the letter of the law, if not the spirit, as a few particularly strident critics have lambasted Apple as a tax dodger. The nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that big companies haveparked more than $2 trillion offshore,which is subject to more favorable tax rates.

“It is the current tax law. It’s not a matter of being patriotic or not patriotic,” Cook told The Post in a lengthy sit-down. “It doesn’t go that the more you pay, the more patriotic you are.”

Cook acknowledged that Apple was effectively taking advantage of a massive tax loophole, which he said was perfectly legal.” “The tax law right now says we can keep that [profit] in Ireland or we can bring it back.”

Uh.. it’s not really “hiding” if he’s telling you it’s there.

Also, if Apple management decided to spend money that wasn’t directly related to earning the company a profit or it wasn’t legally obligated to spend just because it’s the “right thing to do”, the owners of the company (ie: the stock holders) would fire them and likely sue them for breech of fiduciary responsibility.