Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET
The U.S. Treasury Department slapped a $2 million fine on ExxonMobil for violating Russia-related sanctions in 2014 when Rex Tillerson, who is now the U.S. secretary of state, was the company’s CEO. The energy giant said it was legally challenging the action.
At issue are the sanctions the U.S. imposed on Russia following its invasion in 2014 of Ukraine’s Crimea and an energy deal Exxon signed soon after that with Rosneft, the state-owned Russian oil company. Thursday’s fine is not directly related to the agreement with Rosneft, but to Exxon’s dealings with Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s CEO, who was blacklisted by the U.S. in its Ukraine-related sanctions.
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the violations occurred when “the presidents of its U.S. subsidiaries dealt in services of an individual [Sechin] whose property and interests in property were blocked … and an individual identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.”
“ExxonMobil did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations,” OFAC said, adding “the violations constitute an egregious case.”
Exxon, in a filing before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, said OFAC was trying to “retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order that is inconsistent with the explicit and unambiguous guidance from the White House and Treasury issued before the relevant conduct and still publicly available today.”