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US fines Exxon $2 mn over Ukraine-related sanctions breaches

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Washington (AFP)

The United States on Thursday hit oil giant ExxonMobil with a $2 million fine for violating Ukraine-related sanctions, at a time when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was still in charge of the company.

The Treasury Department said Exxon had business dealings with Igor Sechin, president of Russian state energy company Rosneft, who was blacklisted under the sanctions imposed in the wake of the Russian annexation of Crimea.

The department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the principal agency overseeing US sanctions programs, said Exxon failed to reveal the activity as required and "the violations constitute an egregious case."

OFAC said two US subsidiaries of Exxon signed eight legal documents with Sechin in May 2014 for oil and gas projects in Russia, after he was included in the sanctions in late April.

Tillerson stepped down as chief executive of Exxon in 2016 to serve as the Trump administration?s secretary of state.

Tillerson's ties to the Kremlin were an important sticking point during his confirmation, as some lawmakers suggested they could pose a conflict for the head of US diplomacy.

The White House remains mired in controversy over the Trump campaign's connections to Russian authorities, with one of Trump's sons and his former campaign manager due to testify before Congress next week about contacts with Kremlin-linked individuals during the presidential campaign.

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