Leaked documents show that Rex Tillerson, the man Donald Trump has nominated to be the next US secretary of state, was the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the Bahamas.
Tillerson, who was the chief executive of ExxonMobil until his nomination, became a director of its Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, in 1998, along with other officers who are based in Houston, Moscow and Sakhalin, in Russia’s far east, report Luke Harding and Hannes Munzinger.
“ExxonMobil is the world’s largest oil company and has for a long time been eyeing Russia’s vast oil and gas deposits. Tillerson currently has Exxon stock worth more than $200m,” says The Guardian.
Until the leak, this directorship had never been reported, which raises new questions over Tillerson’s relationship with Russia ahead of a confirmation hearing by the US senate foreign relations committee. According to Exxon, Tillerson ceased being a director when he became the company’s CEO in 2006.
“Tillerson is close to Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state oil company Rosneft and the de facto second most powerful figure inside the Kremlin. A hardliner, Sechin is ex-KGB,” note Harding and Munzinger.
Putin awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship in 2013 following a 2011 deal between ExxonMobil and Rosneft to explore Russia’s Arctic.