“This doesn’t look like a coincidence, it looks like laundering $500,000 in order to buy influence. If the Trump administration gives ExxonMobil special permission to ignore Russian sanctions and complete its deal with Rosneft, which began under Rex Tillerson, the American people will know Trump sold them out for a donation to his inauguration party budget,” said American Bridge spokesperson Sabrina Singh.
From The Guardian:
A Venezuelan state-owned oil company, heavily indebted to the Russian oil giant Rosneft, made a $500,000 donation to Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities, it has emerged.
Foreign donations are banned under US law, but the Venezuelan company, PdVSA, made the donation through a US affiliate, Citgo Petrol, soon after offering a nearly 50% stake in Citgo to Rosneft as collateral for a $1.5bn loan.
Under current circumstances, however, Rosneft could not take ownership of its shares in Citgo – which owns three refineries, as well as pipelines and oil terminals – because the Russian firm and its boss, Igor Sechin, are under US sanctions linked to Moscow’s military intervention in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Exxon Mobil Corp. has applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its joint venture with state oil giant PAO Rosneft, according to people familiar with the matter.
Exxon has been seeking U.S. permission to drill with Rosneft in several areas banned by sanctions and renewed a push for approval in March, shortly after its most recent chief executive, Rex Tillerson, became secretary of state on Feb. 1, according to one of these people.