‘Christmas’ Postponed as Too Many Show Up for $1.8 Billion Fight

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(Bloomberg) -- In Dublin, the stage was set for round one of a legal battle over a 1.6 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) tax bill on Wednesday. Except too many people showed up.

Drug maker Perrigo Co. was scheduled to challenge the right of Irish authorities to slap it with the tax demand, one of the largest in the nation’s history. But arriving in court, Judge Denis McDonald, pointed out 17 people were in attendance, exceeding the courtroom’s capacity, which had been set at 15 following the coronavirus outbreak.

McDonald said the attendance once again raised the issue of why the two sides had refused to hold the hearing remotely, as others had, and ordered them both to seek instructions from their clients. He said he’d need “powerful arguments” to convince him to physically hear the case.

Read more: Perrigo Begins Court Battle Over $1.8 Billion Irish Tax Bill

Meanwhile, journalists agreed to accept a live transcript of proceedings to reduce numbers, while one reporter was allowed to remain in court. The case has garnered widespread interest in Ireland, with one tax adviser describing the judicial review hearing, due to last eight days, as akin to “the profession’s Christmas.”

Perrigo eventually agreed to a remote hearing, which will now begin Thursday morning.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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