Exxon slapped with $2M fine for violating Russia sanctions while Tillerson was CEO

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Treasury Department has fined Exxon Mobil $2 million for violating Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia — while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO.

According to a penalty filed today by the Treasury Department, the presidents of Exxon’s U.S. subsidiaries in 2014 signed eight agreements for oil and gas projects with Igor Sechin, the president of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Sechin was among those sanctioned by the U.S. after Russia’s occupation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine.

Exxon signed the agreements between May 14 and 23, 2014.

Tillerson served as CEO from 2006 to 2016 before retiring and joining the Trump administration, and the filing by Treasury makes clear: “ExxonMobil’s senior-most executives knew of Sechin’s status” on the sanction list when they made the deals.

Exxon’s defense was that the documents were signed with Sechin in his “personal” capacity, but Treasury said Thursday that no such distinction exists and that Exxon should know that.

“ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanctions requirements,” the filing says, calling this “an egregious case” and adding, “ExxonMobil caused significant harm to the Ukraine-related sanctions program objectives.”

Exxon applied for a waiver from these same sanctions in April, but the Treasury Department denied them. Tillerson has recused himself from any decisions regarding his former employer for his first two years as Secretary, according to the State Department.

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