President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson, was previously the director of a U.S.-Russian oil firm based in the Bahamas, The Guardian reports.
A leaked document from 2001, given to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source, shows R.W. Tillerson became director of Exxon Mobil's Russian subsidiary Exxon Neftegas in 1998. Exxon confirmed on Sunday that Tillerson was no longer director after he became the company's chief executive in 2006.
Tillerson's ties to Russia, including guiding Exxon Mobil into a deal with Rosneft to explore the Russian Arctic for oil in 2011 and later being awarded the Order of Friendship by Russia President Vladimir Putin, could become a problem for Trump.
In 2014 Tillerson said at Exxon's annual meeting that "we do not support sanctions," in criticism of U.S. government policy.
"We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who they are really harming," he added, according to The Guardian.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats, but several key members of the GOP question Tillerson's background and lack of diplomatic experience.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a prepared statement Tuesday that he has "serious concerns" about the nominee. Despite praising Tillerson as a "respected businessman," Rubio said the next person to head the State Deparment "must be someone who views the world with moral clarity [and who] has a clear sense of America's interests."
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