Caterpillar hires former US attorney general after raid

Mar 17, 2017

Federal agents executed a search warrant on March 2 at Caterpillar's headquarters in downtown Peoria.
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Caterpillar has retained special outside counsel to help in dealing with matters related to the criminal search conducted by a trio of federal agencies earlier this month. 

Former US Attorney General William Barr is currently of counsel to the Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

Caterpillar says in a statement that Barr will review and assist the company in addressing matters related to the federal search warrants executed on March 2, relating to its use of a parts subsidiary based in Switzerland and tax-saving practices.

Issues with Caterpillar SARL have dogged the company for eight years, sparking a Senate investigation, shareholder lawsuits, and proposed taxes and penalties totaling $2 billion.

CEO Jim Umpleby says Barr has no prior connection with Caterpillar and is one of the most distinguished lawyers in the country. He says he’s asked Barr to take a fresh look at Caterpillar’s disputes with the government, get all the facts and help them toward a proper resolution.  Barr served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush, and before that as Deputy Attorney General and as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel at the US Department of Justice.