Exxon accused of bribing Liberian officials by NGO

By James Osborne |

An Exxon gas station in Falls Church, Va. Photo: SAUL LOEB, Staff / AFP/Getty Images / AFP or licensors

WASHINGTON – The non-profit Global Witness accused Exxon Mobil Thursday of paying $120 million in 2013 to gain access to an oil field in Liberia they knew had been obtained illegally by former politicians of the West African nation.

Global Witness claims it has an internal Exxon document in which the Texas oil giant says it is interested in the oil field but has “concern over issues regarding US anti-corruption laws.”

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The charges comes as oil companies worldwide are being pulled into corruption investigations, with European giant Shell set to go on trial in Italy in May for allegedly bribing Nigerian officials to gain access to an offshore oil and gas field.

The Italian criminal investigation followed a report by Global Witness alleging the corruption.

In the case of Exxon, the U.K.-based non-profit is alleging that the oil field purchased by the oil giant was partially owned by former Liberian politicians, “who may have illegally granted it to themselves while holding office.”

“But despite its concerns, Exxon went ahead with the deal, using the Calgary-based company Canadian Overseas Petroleum as a go-between to purchase the block,” Global Witness said.

According to Global Witness, Canadian Overseas Petroleum has denied the allegations, stating, “Conducted due diligence and a forensic audit of the block’s owners, which showed that the deal posed no legal problems and that Block 13 was not owned by former politicians.

The timing of the deal would put the allegations of corruptions on the watch of former CEO Rex Tillerson, who was recently removed as Secretary of State by President Donald Trump.

Source: News Now | mrt.com

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