July 20 (UPI) -- Oil giant ExxonMobil was fined $2 million Thursday for violating U.S. sanctions against Russia three years ago -- when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was still the company's chief executive.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced the fine Thursday.
Investigators said the company engaged in a deal with Igor Sechin, the president of state-owned Russian oil giant Rosneft OAO -- one of the oligarchs who faced personal and business sanctions for his support of the Russian economy and the Kremlin's support for the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The Treasury, under orders from then-President Barack Obama, levied sanctions against several leading Russian businessmen with strong ties to the Kremlin in a bid to loosen President Vladimir Putin's grip on power.
Exxon officials contended that they believed the sanctions against Sechin left room for "personal" business deals and only applied to "professional" conduct. Treasury officials said the executive orders made no such distinction.
The Treasury said Exxon displayed "reckless disregard" for the sanction order, and senior company officials knew of Sechin's sanctioned status when they completed the business deal in 2014.