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ExxonMobil Broke U.S. Sanctions Against Iran in Years Before Tillerson

Mike Mozart/Flickr

Even before the U.S. Senate took up President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the position of U.S. secretary of state yesterday, with potentially explosive results, Securities and Exchange Commission filings showed that Exxon had done business with Iran while that country was under U.S. sanction and Tillerson was a senior executive.

“ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria, and Sudan through a European subsidiary while President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state was a top executive of the oil giant and those countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism,” USA Today writes, citing the SEC.

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The transactions, worth a little more than US$53 million, took place from 2003 through 2005. Tillerson, who spent his entire working life at the company, became its CEO in 2006. Exxon maintains the business, conducted by a unit named Infineum, in which it was a half partner with Shell, was legal, because it “was based in Europe and the transactions did not involve any U.S. employees.”

Tillerson’s confirmation has also drawn high interest for what it may reveal about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose intelligence agencies helped Trump secure his surprise electoral victory.