Above the Law? Exxon, under Tillerson, Cited for Russian Contracts

August 1, 2017

When the history is written, and I still remain confident it will be written by independent, free historians – the direct line between fossil fuel greed, the Carbon Bubble, and the ongoing attempted Russian coup of the US government will be clear.

Business Insider:

The Treasury Department has fined the oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil $2 million for violating US sanctions on Russia — and the violations occurred while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of the company.

The Treasury said that Exxon violated the sanctions between May 14 and May 23, 2014 “by signing eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia with Igor Sechin, the President of Rosneft OAO, and an individual identified on OFAC’s [Office of Foreign Asset Control] List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.”

The Obama administration previously issued an executive order that imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s invasion of eastern Ukraine and seizure of the Crimean peninsula. Some of the sanctions leveled on Russia include the prohibition of technology transfers in Russian energy projects in the Arctic, Siberia, and the Black Sea. Sanctions also prohibit dealings with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

“OFAC determined that ExxonMobil did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations,” the Treasury said, ” and that the violations constitute an egregious case.”

Exxon apparently justified the breach by claiming it wasn’t business, just a friendly, informal, unofficial signing of documents with a Russian Oil Oligarch.  You know, watch the game, have a beer, sign some oil and gas documents.

Just like you might do on any weekend, right?

According to the Treasury, Exxon’s defense was that the company believed the sanctions established a “distinction between Sechin’s ‘professional’ and ‘personal’ capacity,” but the department insists that “no materials issued by the White House or the Department of the Treasury asserted an exception or carve-out for the professional conduct of designated or blocked persons.”

The Treasury concluded that Exxon “demonstrated reckless disregard” when it dealt with Sechin, who was known to ExxonMobil’s senior-most executives as a sanctioned entity. The department added that Exxon “caused significant harm to the Ukraine-related sanctions program objectives by engaging the services” of Sechin, who is “contributing to the crisis in Ukraine.”

Exxon said in a statement that “OFAC’s action is fundamentally unfair” because it is “trying to retroactively enforce a new interpretation” of the initial executive order.

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

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that Exxon had applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from sanctions on Russia in an effort to restart its joint venture with Rosneft. The firm applied for a waiver to proceed in the Black Sea, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is unclear whether the waiver request to the Treasury Department came before or after Tillerson joined the administration. But Tillerson has close personal ties with Russia and has struck several major deals with Rosneft in the past. He also received the Order of Friendship award from President Vladimir Putin in 2013.

Washington Post:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to redefine its mission and issue a new statement of purpose to the world. The draft statements under review right now are similar to the old mission statement, except for one thing — any mention of promoting democracy is being eliminated.

According to an internal email that went out Friday, which I obtained, the State Department’s Executive Steering Committee convened a meeting of leaders to draft new statements on the department’s purpose, mission and ambition, as part of the overall reorganization of the State Department and USAID. (The draft statements were being circulated for comment Friday and could change before being finalized.)

  • The State Department’s draft statement on its purpose is: “We promote the security, prosperity and interests of the American people globally.”
  • The State Department’s draft statement on its mission is: “Lead America’s foreign policy through global advocacy, action and assistance to shape a safer, more prosperous world.”
  • The State Department’s draft statement on its ambition is: “The American people thrive in a peaceful and interconnected world that is free, resilient and prosperous.”

Compare that to the State Department Mission Statement that is currently on the books, as laid out in the department’s fiscal year 2016 financial report:

“The Department’s mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere. This mission is shared with the USAID, ensuring we have a common path forward in partnership as we invest in the shared security and prosperity that will ultimately better prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow.”

21 Responses to “Above the Law? Exxon, under Tillerson, Cited for Russian Contracts”

  1. vierotchka Says:

    It won’t happen, there is nothing there, there.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Why has no one commented here?—this is BIG news (although the size of the fine is laughable—my last traffic ticket for basically doing nothing wrong was $140+).

      As usual, the Russian troll and whore for Putin chips in with an inane bald assertion, gets a thumbs up from herself and her acolyte DweebyJ, and a bunch of thumbs down from folks who are apparently afraid to step up and hold her accountable (which group likely includes that moron who lectured me on another thread about “learning some respect”).

      As a respecter of the truth and what Crock is all about, I will again say to any who may be newbies here, that Vera (who may not be an individual but a group of russian hackers who have bought “naming rights” and are posing as her) comes to Crock ONLY to troll for Russia and Putin, attack the USA, and clog up discussions of any science (of which she is ignorant).

      The fact that Vera says there is “nothing there” means that there IS “something” there, and as Peter says, it will become clear some day (if the country and democracy doesn’t collapse first, that is). Sands through the hourglass, etc., except that sand grains are being replaced by gravel, then rocks,, and soon boulders—-I look forward to the burial of many evil folks under them (Vera among them).

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Lovely ladies, lovely dance, lovely music. Relevance?

          (And I like this one more)

          • vierotchka Says:

            Relevance? My Russian and pro-Putin propaganda, of course.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Irrelevant apples and rotten oranges—-everyone knows the Russian people have a long and rich cultural history. That’s to be admired. (My favorite classical music pieces are almost all by Russian composers).)

            However, It’s shameful that you would use the achievements of the Russian PEOPLE to try to gloss over the fact that Putin is a weasel and a thug and the country is ruled/owned by a kleptocracy. But then you’ve never been one for ethical and moral behavior, have you?

            And please don’t tell me Putin is overwhelmingly popular with the Russian people, etc.—-he and his fellow thugs won’t allow the people to do anything BUT “like” him—-kind of like the way his puppet Trump would like it to be over here in the USA.

            PS Another nice clip—-though IMO not as “artistic” as the “glide” dancing (and Russian women are nicer to look at than Russian men, at least as far as this group is concerned).

          • vierotchka Says:

            Putin is neither a weasel nor a thug and the country is absolutely not ruled/owned by a kleptocracy. You’re the one who has consistently demonstrated that you never have been one for ethical and moral behavior.

            You have never been to Russia, have never talked with the Russian people, yet you pretend to know about Russia, Putin and the Russian people – what utter hypocrisy! You only post your kool-aid-drenched erroneous opinion on these subjects.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Another 8 or 10 unsupported bald assertions by the little old lady russian troll who thinks just because she SAYS it, it is TRUE, and the MORE TiMES she says it, the MORE TRUE it becomes. Stupid, stupid woman.

            And where did you come up with all this stuff about me knowing nothing about russia, never visiting, not talking to russians, etc? How do you know that, Vera?

            FYI, by genetics and ethnicity , I am a 100% member of a group that ends in “ian” and my paternal grandfather served in the Czar’s army (he was impressed).

          • vierotchka Says:

            Oh, a puny little degenerate Armenian! Why am I not surprised? LOL!

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Of all the “-ians” one could have picked, Vera picks one of the dumbest. Stupid woman!

            Of course, she may just be showing some russian prejudice against the Armenians—-earlier actions by Russia are, after all, the root cause of the Armenian genocide.

          • vierotchka Says:

            The amount of utter and ignorant nonsense you spout is incredible! It is due to your severe insanity… they’re coming to take you away, ha! hah!

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Another bald assertion (read unsupported and ignorant opinion) from the stupid old woman who contributes next to nothing to the science here and has outlived her usefulness as a bad example.

          • vierotchka Says:

            AUDIO: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Just Confirmed Seth Rich Was DNC Email Leaker

            WATCH: Julian Assange Suggests Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich, Was Source for WikiLeaks

          • vierotchka Says:

            The mainstream media is completely blacklisting any mention of the bombshell revelations by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich, in which Hersh explained how Rich was Wikileaks’ source for the DNC leak and how the “Russian hacking” story was completely concocted by former CIA director John Brennan.

            In an audio tape obtained by Big League Politics, Hersh says he saw an FBI report leaked to him by an insider which confirms that Rich had contacted Wikileaks with sample emails from the DNC leak and asked for payment for the full data dump.

            “All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said ‘I want money.’ Later, WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a DropBox, a protected DropBox,” he said. They got access to the DropBox,” added Hersh.

            The Pulitzer Prize-winning author said Seth Rich first contacted Wikileaks in late Spring of last year and that the DNC later tried to cover up the truth by inventing the story that Russia had hacked their systems and that this was part of a disinformation operation overseen by former CIA director John Brennan.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            We finally learn who Vera is!!!!! Alex Jones!

          • vierotchka Says:

            We finally know who dumboldguy is!!!!! George W. Bush!

          • vierotchka Says:

            Also known as Nhang! LOL!

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    It’s the Frankenborg we’re up against.

    The resource curse, more true of the potions of fossil fuels than any other resources, has been encroaching on more and more territory for a while, too.

    Does Oil Hinder Democracy?

    Why do Resource Abundant Countries Have Authoritarian Governments?

    Where oil flows, war follows.

    It’s been obvious for a long time that nation states are obsolete. They can’t protect their subjects. They’re too small and weak, weakened further by the wealthy and corporate with a self-serving fake ”philosophy” of small government (but with powerful internal and external militaries to act as thugs for corporate interests). And they’re in the thrall of corporations that essentially own them. Those corporations have owned little pieces of the US and other governments for a while; through state delegation interests* and campaign contributions, revolving doors in captured agencies, and plain old corruption. Other countries have been wholly owned by corporations—Krupp, Nigeria, pre-Mossedegh Iran, and 1950s-70s Central America come to mind, among many others.

    And now the fossil fuel industry owns 2 of the most powerful countries on Earth, and can hold the rest at bay through bribery and extortion while it does what it wants. At least that’s what it’s trying, consciously or not. With the ability to manipulate the US’ weak and vulnerable White House resident through his mental illness, it’s captured more of the US since November than in the previous 2 centuries; it knows. But the way to break the power of it is clear: with democracy wielding clean safe renewable energy. The industry knows it’s in danger of extinction before it meets its goal—destruction of all life—and that there’s a hard deadline. The power of both sides is building but in different realms**. This is a race that requires all of us to do everything we can right now.

    * (CONG states—coal, oil, nuke and gas; agribusiness states, and so on)

    ** One thing that might be useful in that regard is to learn Go (aka Wei chi or Baduk).

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    I’ll say it again. “Why has no one commented here?—this is BIG news”.

    This piece has been given eight five-star votes, has been “liked” by six bloggers, and Vera’s original comment has gotten ten thumbs down, so at least some paid attention.

    It’s a shame that so many Crockers have apparently found Vera’s presence so distasteful and such a turn-off that they let her own the discussion on too many threads—-all 17 comments here have been between Vera and I. (And for those who say that my constant “battle” with Vera is the real turnoff, I say “go suck a lemon”—-sheepDOGs must do their thing, and could use some help).

    This Exxon-Tillerson-Russia business is even bigger news now that a grand jury has been convened and will be looking into financial dealings as well at the election. It’s actually HUUUUGE, and very very significant—-believe me! And russian troll Vera has succeeded in deflecting and distracting—-for once she has earned her paycheck (in rubles that are losing value—-wonder if she demands U.S. dollars?)

    • vierotchka Says:

      Ten idiots who are incapable of recognizing the truth, who have soaked up the kool-aid to the point of their brains becoming rotten, and you sound like Trump – YUUUGE – LOL!

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