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Exxon’s former CEO and current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, used an alias email account for communication regarding climate change, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in the course of an investigation against the oil major on allegations that it withheld information about climate change from shareholders and the public.
The alias email address was Wayne.Tracker@exxonmobil.com, and yesterday the company confirmed it was part of its email system, with spokesman Alan Jeffers adding that it was “put in place for secure and expedited communications between select senior company officials and the former chairman for a broad range of business-related topics.”
Eric Schenderman’s office launched a probe into Exxon’s business two years ago on allegations that the company had known about the effects of the fossil fuel industry on climate for decades, but had withheld this information from its shareholders and the public.
Exxon was initially cooperative, submitting more than a million pages of documents to the New York Attorney General. In October last year, the cooperation ended when Exxon filed a request with a federal judge in Texas to invalidate the investigation on the grounds of political bias. The move failed to stop the investigation, however.
The latest chapter was contained in a letter from Schneiderman to a New York district judge who oversees the probe. Schneiderman asked the judge to order Exxon to disclose if other alias emails were used by the former chief executive, and to say if documents from the first alias email along with 34 others, used by other Exxon executives and board members, were still in existence.
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To date, Jeffers said, Exxon has turned over to the New York AG’s office over 2.5 million pages of documents and is ready to respond to the alias email letter in a filing with the overseeing court. So far, Exxon has turned over 60 documents originating from the Wayne Tracker account, but did not say it was used for “relevant communications” at the company.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.