Apple has instructed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer amid plans to appeal a decision by the European Commission that it must pay €13bn in back taxes to Ireland.

Freshfields Brussels partner Andreas von Bonin is understood to have been instructed by the tech giant.

Apple is also understood to be talking to a number of Irish firms about instructing them alongside Freshfields in the ongoing tax row, while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is also understood to be involved from the US.

The €13bn penalty is the largest ever levied by the commission. It found that Apple enjoyed around 25 years of illegal state support from Ireland that distorted competition in Europe.

The finding has been met with criticism by Irish authorities who denied giving Apple “any favourable treatment”.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook also slammed the decision and pledged to launch a successful appeal.

Dublin must now apply the headline 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate on almost all profits attributed to Apple’s subsidiaries in Dublin.

Freshfields has been drafted in to advise Apple in the past. The magic circle firm was instructed to advise the tech company on its long-running US dispute with Motorola and Samsung over smartphone designs.