After Exxon Fine for Sanctions Violations, Calls for Rex Tillerson to Resign

21 July 2017, 12:09 | Robert Harris

Exxon Mobil has been fined $2 million for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO

Treasury fines Exxon Mobil $2M for violating Russia sanctions while Sec of State Tillerson was CEO

ExxonMobil was fined $2 million for violating sanctions against Russian Federation in 2014, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

In May 2014, the presidents of Exxon's USA subsidiaries "dealt in services" with Russian oil tycoon Igor Sechin by signing "eight legal documents" with him linked to Russian oil and gas projects, the Treasury Department said. On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury responded by fining Exxon $2 million-the maximum civil penalty-for what it described as an "egregious" violation.

ExxonMobil must pay a $2m penalty for signing documents for oil and gas projects in Russia, despite U.S. sanctions imposed after Russian forces seized Crimea in 2014.

A statement released by the government says that Exxon showed "reckless disregard" and that the most senior individuals at the company were aware of the sanctions when they conducted business with Russian businessmen.

Exxon Mobil, whose chief executive at the time is now the US secretary of state, pushed back strongly, calling the action "fundamentally unfair".

He added: the "action is fundamentally unfair".

President Obama signed an executive order establishing sanctions on Russian Federation on March 16, 2014.

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"The OFAC is trying to retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order that is inconsistent with the explicit and unambiguous guidance from the White House and Treasury", Exxon said.

The documents, which Treasury said Exxon Mobil failed to "voluntarily self-disclose", were related to oil and gas projects in Russian Federation.

But, according to Treasury, "despite these prohibitions and ExxonMobil's global market and sophistication, ExxonMobil moved forward with signing the legal documents with designated person Igor Sechin between on or about May 14, 2014 and on or about May 23, 2014".

Sechin signed the documents on behalf of Rosneft, Jeffers said.

Tillerson, whom Putin personally awarded Russia's Order of Friendship in 2013, reportedly argued at the time that he was not in favor of sanctions because he believed them to be ineffective, which is definitely the case if you choose to ignore them. Tillerson visited the White House numerous times as CEO in the immediate aftermath of the sanctions being announced, but they remained in place. Earlier this year, the Trump administration said it would not let any USA company, including ExxonMobil, drill in areas prohibited by US sanctions on Russian Federation.

Concerns about Tillerson's potential conflict of interest dominated his confirmation hearings in January, and the secretary has recused himself from matters dealing with his former company.

Exxon has not yet responded to a request for comment.



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