The Slatest

With Rex Tillerson in Leadership, Exxon Skirted U.S. Sanctions, Did Business With Iran Anyway

A picture taken on June 21, 2013 shows President Vladimir Putin and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson in Saint Petersburg.


While now-CEO Rex Tillerson was a top executive at Texas-based ExxonMobil, the company circumvented U.S. sanctions in the mid-2000s against Iran, Syria, and Sudan, all deemed state sponsors of terror, and did business with the sanctioned regimes anyway through a European subsidiary, USA Today reported Monday. The sales to the sanctioned regimes took place from 2003 to 2005; Tillerson became a senior VP in 2001 and president and director in March 2004, but did not assume the CEO role until 2006.

From USA Today:

The sales were conducted in 2003, 2004 and 2005 by Infineum, in which ExxonMobil owned a 50% share, according to SEC documents unearthed by American Bridge, a Democratic research group. ExxonMobil told USA TODAY the transactions were legal because Infineum, a joint venture with Shell Corporation, was based in Europe and the transactions did not involve any U.S. employees. The filings, from 2006, show that the company had $53.2 million in sales to Iran, $600,000 in sales to Sudan and $1.1 million in sales to Syria during those three years.

ExxonMobil did not disclose its dealings with the pariah regimes with shareholders at the time, a decision the Securities and Exchange Commission questioned the wisdom of. “These are all legal activities complying with the sanctions at the time,” Alan Jeffers, a media manager at ExxonMobil, told USA TODAY. “We didn’t feel they were material because of the size of the transactions.”

Tillerson, of course, is headed to Congress this week to begin the confirmation process for Secretary of State where the company’s sanction-evasions are sure to be raised along with his connections to Vladimir Putin and Russia.