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Exxon Mobil faces suit that says it misled investors on climate change

By Clyde Hughes
Exxon Mobil faces suit that says it misled investors on climate change
The suit says the energy conglomerate intentionally deceived investors about the profitability of renewable fuels. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Exxon Mobil faces trial in New York City civil court Tuesday, and charges that say the energy conglomerate deceived investors about the impact of climate change on business.

The New York attorney general's office filed the suit last year after a lengthy investigation. It accuses the oil and gas giant of intentionally misleading investors by giving internal documents that propped up Exxon investments in Canadian tar sands explorations while downplaying profitability of clean energies.

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The 97-page lawsuit said then-Exxon CEO and future Secretary of State Rex Tillerson enabled the deceptive information.

"Exxon in effect erected a Potemkin village to create the illusion that it had fully considered the risks of future climate change regulation and had factored those risks into its business operations," then-New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in the lawsuit.

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"As a result of Exxon's fraud, the company was exposed to far greater risk from climate change regulations than investors were led to believe."

Exxon Mobil has dismissed the suit, insisting that it made proper projections and never misled investors. On Tuesday, Charlotte Huffaker, Exxon Mobil's corporate media relations advisor, referred UPI back to the company's initial statement on the lawsuit.

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"The New York Attorney General's allegations are false," Exxon Mobil said. "We tell investors through regular disclosures how the company accounts for risks associated with climate change. We are confident in the facts and look forward to seeing our company exonerated in court.

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"The New York Attorney General's case is misleading and deliberately misrepresents a process we use to ensure company investment stake into account the impact of current and potential climate-related regulations," the statement continued. The company said in one filing it has provided 4 million pages of documents that prove there was never wrongdoing. In August, New York State Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager recommended Exxon Mobil "rethink" the large amounts of paperwork it has presented.

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