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Trump's State Secretary pick directed US-Russian oil company, leak reveals

ExxonMobil Chairman Rex Tillerson speaks at a press conference after the ExxonMobil annual shareholders meeting at the Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center May 28, 2008 in Dallas, Texas. Photograph: (Getty)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 19, 2016, 03.14 AM (IST)

Rex Tillerson was named in a tax haven leak as the long-time director of a Bahamas-based US-Russian oil company, The Guardian reports.

Tillerson is currently the chief executive of ExxonMobil, but in 1998 he became the director of their Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, The Guardian reports. His name, "RW", appears next to officers based at Houston, Texas, in Moscow, and in the far east of Russia in Sakhalin.

The leaked document comes from the corporate registry in the Bahamas, one of the 1.3 million files given to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source, The Guardian reports.

There's nothing illegal about Tillerson's previous appointment, but it raises questions over his Russian ties, and is just one more major thing connecting Donald Trump to Russia. 

Exxon Mobil is the world's largest oil company, and for years have been looking towards Russia's vast deposits of natural resources.

 

Conflict of Interest?

On Sunday, Exxon said Tillerson was no longer the director of Exxon Neftegas after becoming CEO in 2006, The Guardian reports. But he has since been linked to Russia in other ways.

Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship in 2013, and is close with Igor Sechin, who The Guardian characterises as a "hardliner" and ex-KGB (Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti--the secret police in the former Soviet Union) member who is the second most powerful person inside the Kremlin.

In 2011, ExxonMobil and Russia's state oil company Rosneft made a deal to explore the Kara Sea in Russia's Arctic, The Guardian reports. 

The deal was shelved due to the sanctions imposed after Russia annexed the eastern Ukrainian state of Crimea. American firms are banned from sharing technology related to the oil industry under the sanctions, and Exxon was suppsed to stop drilling, but the company pleaded successfully for the ban to be delayed by a few weeks, and in this time discovered 750 million barrels of new oil, The Guardian reports. 

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