Exxon fined $2M for violating Russian Federation sanctions when Tillerson was CEO

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

In a statement, Exxon says it "followed the clear guidance from the White House and Treasury Department" when it signed the contract with Rosneft, because officials believed the sanctions only applied to Sechin's personal business and not on his role at Rosneft.

In its full web notice about the fine it is imposing to Exxon, the Treasury said that OFAC considered as aggravating factors, among others, that "ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for US sanctions requirements when it failed to consider warning signs associated with dealing in the blocked services of an SDN" and that "ExxonMobil's senior-most executives knew of Sechin's status as an SDN when they dealt in the blocked services of Sechin".

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

The Treasury Department slapped Exxon with a $2 million fine - the maximum allowed under current law - and said the company had "demonstrated reckless disregard" for the requirements of the sanctions.

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.

A photo posted on Rosneft's website shows Sechin and Duffin smiling broadly and shaking hands at a conference table with documents and a pen in front of them.

Exxon's filing in USA court said the OFAC action is "fundamentally unfair and constitutes a denial of due process under the Constitution".

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

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"OFAC seeks to retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order that is inconsistent with the explicit and unambiguous guidance from the White House and Treasury", Exxon said in the suit.

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 USA sanctions.

No White House or Treasury statements asserted "an exception or carve-out for the professional conduct of designated or blocked persons, nor did any materials suggest that US persons could continue to conduct or engage in business with such individuals", OFAC said.

Tillerson left ExxonMobil to become secretary of state after 10 years at the helm of the global energy power.

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

Exxon has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The company has long opposed sanctions on Russian Federation.

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