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Federal agents raid Caterpillar offices

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PEORIA, Ill. - Federal law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at three Caterpillar (CAT) facilities, including its headquarters, in central Illinois on Thursday.

Caterpillar says it believes the warrant concerns “export filings” related to its Switzerland subsidiary CSARL.

Sharon Paul, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Springfield, said “federal law enforcement activity” was being conducted at three Caterpillar locations including the corporate headquarters in Peoria and facilities in East Peoria and Morton.

Paul said the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit, the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s office of inspector general are involved in the raids. She declined to comment further.

A video on the Peoria Journal Star’s website shows federal agents - some wearing jackets that read IRS Special Agent and Police - wheeling large boxes into a Caterpillar building.

In a statement Thursday after federal agents appeared at its Peoria, Illinois, headquarters and other Illinois facilities, Caterpillar says the issue it concerns was first disclosed in a 2015 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At that time, the Caterpillar said the SEC had notified the manufacturer that it was conducting an informal investigation relating to CSARL, and asked the company to preserve relevant documents.

Caterpillar spokeswoman Corrie Heck Scott said in an email that the company is cooperating with law enforcement.

Caterpillar is a farming construction equipment manufacturer and is one of the biggest companies of its kind on the world. 

The company’s stock price fell after news surfaced of the federal search. Caterpillar shares slid $4.73, or 4.8 percent, to $93.80 in afternoon trading. 

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