Exxon Did Business With Terrorist Iran and Syria Under Rex Tillerson
ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria, and Sudan while the company was under Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show, USA Today reported.
According to the explosive report, the sales took place from 2003 to 2005 when the three countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism.
The sanctions would hamstring U.S. companies from doing business with those countries, but ExxonMobil conducted its business through the Europe-based Infineum, a company in which ExxonMobil owns a 50 percent share.
SEC filings from 2006 show Infineum had conducted $53.2 million in sales to Iran over three years.
ExxonMobil defended the deals, saying they were legal because they were through European employees.
But the issue could come up at Tillerson’s confirmation hearing this week – and the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, told the newspaper he was “deeply skeptical about Mr. Tillerson’s actions as CEO of Exxon that were in direct contravention to express United States policies put in place to secure Americans and our country.”
Tillerson became a senior vice president at ExxonMobil in August 2001, president and director in March 2004 and chairman and chief executive Jan. 1, 2006.
According to USA Today, an SEC letter questioned ExxonMobil’s failure to disclose to shareholders it had transactions with three state sponsors of terrorism. Decisions to make such disclosures should be based on “the potential impact of corporate activities upon a company’s reputation and share value,” and not simply the monetary value of the transactions, the SEC said.
But compared with Exxon’s overall annual revenue of $371 billion, “these transactions are not material by any reasonable measure,” Richard Gutman, ExxonMobil’s assistant general counsel at the time, wrote in response, USA Today reported.
“Finding loopholes to make lucrative business deals with geo-political adversaries, while showing no clear regard for U.S. national interests, is not a resume builder for a prospective diplomat-in-chief,” Menendez said in a statement to USA Today.
“This is one of the many issues I look forward to hearing more about during the upcoming confirmation hearings.”