BBCI: ExxonMobil fined by USA for Ukraine sanctions violations

21 July, 2017, 00:11 | Author: Joy Garcia
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left arrives in the prime minister's official residence to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo Japan Thursday

The Treasury Department on Thursday leveled a $2 million civil fine against Exxon Mobil Corp. for violating sanctions against Russian Federation three years ago, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson led the Texas oil company.

Treasury said executives of Exxon Mobil's US subsidiaries signed legal documents with Igor Sechin, President of Rosneft, a Russian Federation state-owned oil giant that describes itself as "the world's largest publicly traded petroleum company".

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) "determined that ExxonMobil did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations to OFAC, and that the violations constitute an egregious case", the statement reads.

Sechin was among top Russian officials to be blacklisted by the USA for Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said Exxon didn't voluntarily disclose its dealings with Sechin to the US government, and called the violations egregious. "OFAC's action is fundamentally unfair", Exxon said.

He added: the "action is fundamentally unfair". And, it said the company's "senior-most executives" were aware of the sanctions when two of its subsidiaries signed deals with Russian oil magnate Igor Sechin.

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Exxon officials contended that they believed the sanctions against Sechin left room for "personal" business deals and only applied to "professional" conduct. Foreign Policy magazine reported "Sechin's personal assets will be frozen, but Treasury officials said the designation wouldn't impact USA companies' ability to do business with Rosneft because Sechin does not control the firm".

The energy giant's request to return to Russian Federation for oil and gas activities was rejected in April by the Treasury because of existing sanctions. The company said the eight legal documents it signed were related to ventures with Rosneft, not Sechin personally.

But while he was at Exxon, Tillerson opposed the sanctions levied on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea.

After the Ukraine-related sanctions put in place under President Barack Obama, Tillerson saw Exxon's stake in a lucrative offshore drilling project with Rosneft come under threat.

"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.

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 State Department referred questions about the fine to ExxonMobil and the Treasury.

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