The European Union’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on January 31 defended the landmark decision ordering US tech giant Apple to pay billions in back-taxes to Ireland.

In August, the European Commission, ordered the iPhone maker to reimburse a record €13bn in unpaid taxes in Ireland.

The EU has accused Ireland of giving Apple a secret tax deal that allowed it to enjoy near zero tax on its huge sales worldwide for more than a decade.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Vestager told Irish lawmakers in Dublin on January 31 that Brussels was not conducting a “witch-hunt” against multinationals such as Apple. She said the investigations in this and other cases in other European countries were purely about illegal state aid.

“We simply want to make sure that they are not used to rubber stamp a way of allocating profits that does not match economic reality,” she said, adding that the EU Commission is not assuming authority over a country’s tax rules.