May 18, 2018 / 1:15 PM / in 5 months

CORRECTED-Apple pays Ireland first tranche of disputed taxes

(Correct currency conversion in first paragraph)

DUBLIN, May 18 (Reuters) - Apple has paid 1.5 billion euros ($1.76 billion) into an escrow account set up by the Irish government to hold 13 billion euros in disputed taxes, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Friday.

The European Commission ordered Apple in August 2016 to pay the taxes it ruled it had received as illegal state aid, as part of its wider drive against what it says are sweetheart tax deals usually used by smaller states in the bloc to lure multinational companies and their jobs and investment.

Both Apple and Dublin are appealing the ruling, saying the iPhone maker's tax treatment was in line with Irish and European Union law.

Last October the Commission said it was taking Dublin to the European Court of Justice over delays in recovering the money that was due to be recovered in January 2017, four months on from the initial ruling in August 2016.

The commission has been pressurising Ireland to recover the taxes as soon as possible to allow it to close the EU Court of Justice's action for missing the deadline.

Ireland has insisted that it has acted as fast as it could to facilitate collection and management of such a large sum.

In March, Ireland appointed Amundi, BlackRock Investment Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management to manage an escrow account to hold the money and make low risk investment decisions that protect the Irish taxpayer. ($1 = 0.8493 euros) (Reporting by Graham Fahy, editing by Louise Heavens)

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