ExxonMobil fined by United States for Ukraine sanctions violations — BBCI

Glen Johnson  ZUMA

Glen Johnson ZUMA

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". Sechin was sanctioned by the Obama administration in 2014 after Russian Federation deployed its military in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

"ExxonMobil followed the clear guidance from the White House and Treasury Department when its representatives signed documents involving ongoing oil and gas activities in Russian Federation with Rosneft - a non-blocked entity - that were countersigned on behalf of Rosneft by CEO Igor Sechin in his official representative capacity".

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

"ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for USA sanction requirements", according to enforcement filing released by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the penalty.

The enforcement action announced Thursday did not give further details about the dealings with Sechin, nor about which Exxon executives worked with him. Sechin is on Treasury's list of "Blocked Persons".

The Treasury Department called the violation an "egregious case" and noted that Exxon "is a sophisticated and experienced oil and gas company that has global operations" and should know better when it comes to US sanctions. A few days later, Tillerson was unambiguous about Exxon's opposition to the sanctions during his company's annual meeting. It leveled the statutory maximum civil penal of $2 million for the breaches.

USA considers sanctions on Chinese companies over North Korea
Even North Korea has claimed that their "Hwasong-14" missile which is capable of reaching Alaska was an ICBM . North Korea is producing plutonium for its nuclear weapons as Pyongyang continues to clash with its enemies.

On March 17, 2014, a fact sheet issued by the Obama White House specifically said the focus of the sanctions is to identify "individuals and target their personal assets, but not companies that they may manage on behalf of the Russian state".

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. Tillerson stepped down as CEO of ExxonMobil in December 2016 to lead the Trump Administration's State Department.

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

With rising tensions between Russian Federation and Ukraine in 2014, western powers, including the USA, imposed economic and technological sanctions against Moscow.

Exxon has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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