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ExxonMobil fined by U.S. for Ukraine sanctions violations — BBCI

ExxonMobil fined by U.S. for Ukraine sanctions violations — BBCI

The U.S. Treasury Department has fined Exxon Mobil Corporation $2 million for violating Russian Federation sanctions related to Ukraine, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of the global oil and gas conglomerate.

According to a penalty filed today by the Treasury Department, the presidents of Exxon's USA 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.

The violations occurred in May of that year when the now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil, according to a filing by the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

In April 2014, in response to its "continuing provocations in Ukraine", the Obama administration expanded its economic sanctions against Russia, freezing the assets of 17 Russian companies and seven Russians linked to Vladimir Putin, as well as prohibiting US dealings with those parties.

Exxon Mobil, at the time of the alleged violation, was headed by Rex Tillerson, who is now the USA secretary of state.

Treasury's enforcement action said that the executive order, its guidance for companies and the administration's public statements "all clearly put ExxonMobil on notice that OFAC would consider executing documents with [people subject to sanctions] to violate the prohibitions in the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations".

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The Treasury Department "is trying to retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order" inconsistent with its prior guidance, Jeffers said.

By dealing with Sechin, the company "caused significant harm" to US sanctions on Russian Federation, the Treasury said. That same month, Neil Duffin, president of subsidiary Exxon Mobil Development, signed several deals to continue their work on the massive Sakhalin oil and natural gas project on Russia's eastern coast. As an official of the Russian government, Sechin was "contributing to the crisis in Ukraine", Treasury said. A few days later, Tillerson was unambiguous about Exxon's opposition to the sanctions during his company's annual meeting.

Exxon officials contended that they believed the sanctions against Sechin left room for "personal" business deals and only applied to "professional" conduct.

Sechin is the CEO of Russian state oil giant Rosneft and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tillerson visited the White House numerous times as CEO to protest the sanctions, but they remained in place.

Mr. Tillerson, who has deep ties to Russian Federation and received an Order of Friendship from Moscow, left the firm to become U.S. Secretary of State. The State Department declined to comment on Tillerson's role, referring all questions to Exxon.