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Caterpillar seeks ex U.S. attorney generals help over govt probe

Caterpillar Inc (CAT. N) has tapped former U.S. Attorney General William Barr to help the company address an ongoing government investigation of its import and export practices. Earlier this month, U.S. law enforcement officials raided three of the heavy machinery manufacturer's Illinois facilities as part of an Internal Revenue Service probe related to profits earned by the company's Swiss parts unit, Caterpillar SARL.

The IRS has demand that the company pay $2 billion in taxes and penalties for profits assigned to the Swiss unit. The unit was also the subject of a 2014 Senate committee report that concluded Caterpillar shifted billions in profits abroad and had $2.4 billion in taxes deferred or avoided from 2012.

"I have asked Bill - who has no prior connection with Caterpillar - to draw on his experience ... to take a fresh look at Caterpillar's disputes with the government," Chief Executive Jim Umpleby said in a statement on Thursday.

Car industry players diverge on timescale for self-driving cars BERLIN Carmakers and suppliers gave widely differing timelines for the introduction of self-driving vehicles on Thursday, showing the uncertainties surrounding the technology as well as a split between cautious established players and bullish new entrants.

Exclusive: Venezuela's cash-strapped PDVSA offers Rosneft oil stake - sources CARACAS/HOUSTON Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has offered Russian counterpart Rosneft a stake in a joint venture in the country's Orinoco Belt extra-heavy crude area, five industry sources said, in a sign of the Latin American nation's dire economic situation and Moscow's growing muscle there.

Judge approves $27 million driver settlement in Lyft lawsuit SAN FRANCISCO A U.S. judge gave the final approval on Thursday to a settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit against Lyft, ending a legal case that challenged the independent contractor status of the company's drivers.

U.S. judge deals PwC a setback at MF Global malpractice trial

A federal judge has rejected PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's bid to sharply restrict how the bankruptcy plan administrator for Jon Corzine's defunct brokerage MF Global Holdings Ltd pursues its $3 billion malpractice case against the auditor. Ruling eight days after the trial began, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan refused to force the administrator, which is seeking money for MF Global creditors, to stick to what PwC called its original theory of why MF Global went bankrupt on Oct. 31, 2011. PwC said the administrator has in three years of litigation blamed the bankruptcy on a $6.3 billion European sovereign debt wager that the futures and commodities brokerage would not have made but for its negligent accounting advice. But PwC said it was blindsided when the administrator at trial began blaming confusion and a lack of trust among customers, investors and lenders in MF Global's financial statements, which in turn were caused by PwC's advice.

The auditor sought to exclude all evidence supporting that theory, including testimony from Corzine, or get a mistrial. But the judge said the administrator had blamed PwC before for the loss of confidence in MF Global, including during its lawyer's March 7 opening statement.

"Although PwC may well be surprised that some of the prior allegations in the case may differ from theory of causation the plan administrator has advanced up to this point at trial, because that theory has been disclosed before, PwC cannot at this late stage claim to be prejudiced," Marrero wrote. Corzine, a former New Jersey governor and senator and Goldman Sachs (GS. N) co-chairman, has testified that the European debt wager was low-risk and ultimately paid in full, but the market did not understand it.

PwC has blamed Corzine's risky trading and business strategy for MF Global's collapse, and expects to win at trial "regardless of the causation theory," Rich Marooney, a lawyer for PwC, said in a statement after Marrero ruled. The trial is expected to last five weeks. The case is MF Global Holdings Ltd as Plan Administrator v PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-02197.