独家报道:美国调查人员被告知不得对巴尔的前客户卡特彼勒采取进一步行动

2020-11-19 14:04

Exclusive: U.S. investigators were told to take 'no further action' on Caterpillar, ex-client of Barr Jkv世界播

独家报道:美国调查人员被告知不得对巴尔的前客户卡特彼勒采取进一步行动Jkv世界播


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Before William Barr became President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Department of Justice, he represented Caterpillar Inc, a Fortune 100 company, in a federal criminal investigation by the department. Jkv世界播

路透华盛顿8月23日-在威廉·巴尔(William Barr)成为美国总统唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)选择领导美国司法部之前,他曾代表财富100强企业卡特彼勒(Caterpillar Inc)参与司法部的联邦刑事调查。Jkv世界播


Much was at stake for Caterpillar: Since 2018, the Internal Revenue Service has been demanding $2.3 billion (1.7 billion) in payments from the company in connection with the tax matters under criminal investigation. The company is contesting that finding. Jkv世界播

卡特彼勒事关重大:自2018年以来,美国国税局(Internal Revenue Service)一直要求该公司支付23亿美元(17亿GB)与刑事调查中的税务事宜有关的款项。该公司正在对这一发现提出异议。Jkv世界播


A week after Barr was nominated for the job of attorney general, Justice officials in Washington told the investigative team in the active criminal probe of Caterpillar to take “no further action” in the case, according to an email written by one of the agents and reviewed by Reuters. Jkv世界播

在巴尔被提名为司法部长一周后,华盛顿的司法官员告诉对卡特彼勒进行积极刑事调查的调查小组,不要对此案采取进一步行动,路透社(Reuters)查看了其中一名特工写的一封电子邮件。Jkv世界播


The decision, the email said, came from the Justice Department’s Tax Division and the office of the deputy attorney general, who was then Rod Rosenstein. Jkv世界播

邮件称,这一决定来自司法部税务局和时任罗德·罗森斯坦(Rod Rosenstein)的司法部副部长办公室。Jkv世界播


“I was instructed on December 13, 2018,” wrote the agent, Jason LeBeau, “that the Tax Division and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General jointly came to the decision that no further action was to be taken on the matter until further notice.” LeBeau, an inspector general agent at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, declined interview requests from Reuters. Jkv世界播

“我在2018年12月13日接到通知,”经纪人杰森·勒博(Jason LeBeau)写道,“税务局和副司法部长办公室共同决定,在接到进一步通知之前,不会对此事采取进一步行动。”美国联邦存款保险公司(FDIC)监察长勒博(LeBeau)拒绝了路透社的采访请求。Jkv世界播


Since then, a source close to the case says, the investigation has “stalled.” The order to freeze the Caterpillar investigation has not been previously reported. Jkv世界播

一位接近此案的消息人士说,从那时起,调查就“停滞不前”了。此前没有报道过冻结卡特彼勒调查的命令。Jkv世界播


Reuters was unable to determine why Justice issued the “no further action” directive. It was not issued by Barr, as it came before he was confirmed. A Justice Department spokesperson said Barr recused himself from any Caterpillar discussions once he became attorney general, but declined further comment. Barr, in testimony during his confirmation hearings, said rules of legal privilege precluded him from discussing his work for the company. Jkv世界播

路透社无法确定司法部为何发布“不再采取进一步行动”的指令。它不是由巴尔发布的,因为它是在他得到确认之前发出的。司法部发言人说,巴尔一旦成为司法部长,就回避了卡特彼勒的任何讨论,但拒绝进一步置评。巴尔在确认听证会上作证时表示,法律特权规则禁止他讨论自己在公司的工作。Jkv世界播


Rosenstein, who left the government in May 2019, did not respond to a phone message and emails seeking comment. The IRS declined to comment about the case. Jkv世界播

罗森斯坦于2019年5月离开政府,他没有回复寻求置评的电话和电子邮件。美国国税局拒绝对此案置评。Jkv世界播


Caterpillar, for its part, has reported to investors that the grand jury investigation is ongoing. The company told Reuters the DOJ’s Tax Division is reviewing the investigation. Caterpillar has said for years that it did nothing wrong. Jkv世界播

卡特彼勒方面已向投资者报告称,大陪审团的调查仍在进行中。该公司告诉路透社,美国司法部税务局正在审查这项调查。卡特彼勒多年来一直表示,它没有做错任何事情。Jkv世界播


Potential conflicts of interest, whether real or apparent, often arise when high-powered lawyers switch between private practice and government service. Bruce A. Green, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Fordham Law School, said it is not unheard of for attorney generals to have clients who had business before the DOJ. He noted that in 2009, President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, recused himself from a case involving Swiss Bank UBS, a prior client. Jkv世界播

当有权势的律师在私人执业和政府服务之间切换时,往往会出现潜在的利益冲突,无论是真实的还是明显的。在福特汉姆法学院(Fordham Law School)任教的前联邦检察官布鲁斯·A·格林(Bruce A.Green)表示,司法部长拥有在司法部之前有业务往来的客户并不是闻所未闻的。他指出,2009年,美国总统巴拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)的司法部长埃里克·霍尔德(Eric Holder)回避了一起涉及瑞士银行(Swiss Bank UBS)的案件,瑞银是他之前的客户。Jkv世界播


But Green said he could not recall a case where agents were told to take no further action on a matter involving an incoming attorney general’s former client without some kind of explanation. “Why would you just stop?” he asked. Jkv世界播

但格林说,他不记得有哪起案件中,代理人被告知在没有任何解释的情况下,不能对涉及即将上任的司法部长的前客户的问题采取进一步行动。“你为什么要停下来呢?”他问。Jkv世界播


A source familiar with the progress of the investigation, which is being conducted out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, said that since December 2018, “it’s slowed, it’s stalled, it’s languishing. Not a lot of action is being taken.” But the source stressed the probe is not technically closed, and couldn’t be called “dead.” Jkv世界播

一位熟悉调查进展的消息人士表示,自2018年12月以来,“调查进展缓慢、停滞、萎靡不振。调查是在伊利诺伊州中区联邦检察官办公室进行的。”没有采取太多行动。“。但这位消息人士强调,从技术上讲,调查还没有结束,也不能说是“死亡”。Jkv世界播


The government’s questions about Caterpillar’s tax structure started with a whistleblower lawsuit in 2009 that laid out what it said was a complex “tax dodge” to route Caterpillar profits on parts sales through a company in Switzerland. Then, in 2014, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations dug into the issue, and alleged the company adopted a sales strategy that “shifted billions of dollars in profits away from the United States and into Switzerland, where Caterpillar had negotiated an effective corporate tax rate of 4% to 6%.” The Senate investigators quoted company insiders who said the system was structured for “tax avoidance.” Jkv世界播

政府对卡特彼勒税收结构的质疑始于2009年的一起举报人诉讼,称卡特彼勒通过瑞士的一家公司实现零部件销售利润的复杂“逃税”。然后,在2014年,美国参议院常设调查委员会(Senate Permanent Subestigations On Investigations)对此进行了调查,指控该公司采取了一种销售策略,将数十亿美元的利润从美国转移到瑞士,卡特彼勒在瑞士协商的有效公司税率为4%至6%。参议院调查人员援引公司内部人士的话说,该系统是为“避税”而设计的。Jkv世界播


At the time, Caterpillar said the transactions, and tax strategy, were entirely legal. A Caterpillar vice president testified to the committee that having an offshore subsidiary collect profits and pay taxes was “nothing more than the standard business operations and tax planning that any prudent multinational enterprise would employ.” Jkv世界播

当时,卡特彼勒表示,这些交易和税收策略完全合法。卡特彼勒的一位副总裁向委员会作证说,让一家离岸子公司收取利润和纳税,“只不过是任何谨慎的跨国企业都会采用的标准业务运作和税务筹划。”Jkv世界播


The next year, a federal grand jury in Illinois launched a criminal investigation. In March 2017, federal agents raided three Caterpillar offices, wheeling out evidence in large black plastic boxes. In a report written for the government, a consultant for the investigators, Leslie Robinson, called the tax strategy “fraudulent rather than negligent.” Jkv世界播

第二年,伊利诺伊州的一个联邦大陪审团发起了刑事调查。2017年3月,联邦特工突击搜查了卡特彼勒的三个办公室,用黑色的大塑料盒运出证据。在为政府撰写的一份报告中,调查顾问莱斯利·罗宾逊(Leslie Robinson)称税收策略是“欺诈性的,而不是疏忽的”。Jkv世界播


Two weeks after the raid, Caterpillar Chief Executive Jim Umpleby announced the hiring of Barr as company counsel. Barr would “take a fresh look at Caterpillar’s disputes with the government, get all the facts, and then help us bring these matters to proper resolution based on the merits.” Jkv世界播

突袭两周后,卡特彼勒首席执行长翁普尔比(Jim Umpleby)宣布聘请巴尔担任公司法律顾问。巴尔将“重新审视卡特彼勒与政府的争端,了解所有事实,然后帮助我们根据案情妥善解决这些问题。”Jkv世界播


Robinson, the investigative consultant who had questioned Caterpillar’s tactics, told Reuters she met with Barr in May 2017, briefing him on why she thought the tax strategy was illegal, and to hear why the company thought it was not. Robinson said she would not discuss the meeting details or the basis for her conclusion in the government’s report. Jkv世界播

曾质疑卡特彼勒策略的调查顾问罗宾逊告诉路透社,她曾在2017年5月与巴尔会面,向他简要介绍了为什么她认为税收策略是非法的,并听取了为什么公司认为不合法。罗宾逊说,她不会讨论会议细节,也不会讨论她在政府报告中得出结论的依据。Jkv世界播


In November 2018, as the White House scanned potential lawyers to take the job of attorney general, Barr’s name was among those floated. On December 7, the White House announced his selection. “He was my first choice from day one,” Trump said. Barr has emerged as one of Trump’s most aggressive aides, most recently authorizing federal prosecutors to investigate the counting of votes in this month’s presidential election, which Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Jkv世界播

2018年11月,当白宫扫描潜在律师担任司法部长一职时,巴尔的名字也在名单中。12月7日,白宫宣布了他的提名。特朗普说:“从第一天起,他就是我的第一选择。”巴尔已经成为特朗普最咄咄逼人的助手之一,最近他授权联邦检察官调查本月总统选举的计票情况,特朗普在选举中输给了民主党人乔·拜登(Joe Biden)。Jkv世界播


In January 2019, Robinson, a professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, sent a note to FDIC agent LeBeau asking if the case was “dead or progressing.” Robinson wrote, “From a personal standpoint, it is a bit peculiar to have spent so much of my time and energy on something and then to have no idea if it will amount to anything concrete.” Jkv世界播

2019年1月,达特茅斯学院塔克商学院(Tuck School Of Business)教授罗宾逊(Robinson)给FDIC特工勒博(LeBeau)发了一封信,询问该案是“死亡还是进展”。罗宾逊写道:“从我个人的角度来看,花了这么多时间和精力在某件事情上,然后却不知道它是否会有任何具体的意义,这是有点奇怪的。”Jkv世界播


“Quite frankly I am somewhat in the dark as well,” LeBeau replied. He said he had understood that a new U.S. attorney was in discussions with Caterpillar, but knew little more. “I know the process is going incredibly slow.” Jkv世界播

“坦白说,我也有点蒙在鼓里,”勒博回答说。他说,他已经了解到,一位新的美国检察官正在与卡特彼勒进行谈判,但他所知的信息寥寥无几。“我知道这个过程非常缓慢。”Jkv世界播


This October, Robinson communicated again with the investigators. In emails reviewed by Reuters, she asked what had happened to the case, explaining that a Reuters reporter had inquired. That’s when LeBeau explained, copying other agents and a prosecutor on the email, that they had been told to take no further action a week after Barr’s nomination 20 months ago. Jkv世界播

今年10月,罗宾逊再次与调查人员沟通。在路透社(Reuters)查看的电子邮件中,她询问案件发生了什么,并解释说,路透社的一名记者进行了询问。就在那时,勒博在电子邮件中抄袭了其他特工和一名检察官,解释说,在20个月前巴尔被提名一周后,他们被告知不要采取进一步行动。Jkv世界播


“We were given no additional explanation,” he wrote. Jkv世界播

“我们没有得到额外的解释,”他写道。Jkv世界播

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