Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Treasury fines Exxon $2 million for violating Russian Federation sanctions

U.S. fines Exxon Mobil over Ukraine-related sanctions violations Logos of Exxon Mobil are seen in its booth at Gastech the world's biggest expo for the gas industry in Chiba
Ron Matthews | 21 July, 2017, 00:12

Oil giant ExxonMobil, with its legions of lawyers, obviously knew about the sanctions but still chose to sign "eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia" with Sechin in May of that year.

Treasury said in a statement that Exxon under Tillerson's leadership had shown "reckless disregard" for sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russian entities in 2014 over Russia's annexation of Crimea.

And a May 2014 report from the Wall Street Journal said that BP's CEO, an American, "may participate in board meetings with Mr. Sechin as long as they are conducting Rosneft's, and not Mr. Sechin's, personal business, the Treasury Department said".

According to OFAC, ExxonMobil deliberately failed to disclose its dealings to regulators in order to bypass the restrictions.

In its statement, Exxon maintained its innocence, saying that it had "followed clear guidance" from the White House and Treasury Department when it went ahead with the deals with Rosneft that Sechin then countersigned.

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

As head of the oil company, he signed deals with Rosneft, leading Russian Federation to award him the Order of Friendship in 2013. "OFAC's action is fundamentally unfair", Exxon said.

Tillerson established close relations with Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, while he was CEO of Exxon Mobil.

"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", the filing read.

The same month that Exxon signed the deals, Tillerson said the company generally opposes sanctions and finds them "ineffective". It leveled the statutory maximum civil penal of $2 million for the breaches.

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.

"The secretary continues to abide by his ethical commitments, including that recusal from Exxon-related commitments", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"The U.S. and European Union sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered these particular sanctions", Tillerson said earlier this month during a visit to Ukraine.

The State Department declined to comment, referring questions to Exxon.

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