President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of State, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, did business with Iran, Syria, and Sudan through a European subsidiary to avoid U.S. sanctions against doing business with those countries, according to USA Today.
Tillerson faces a confirmation hearing on Jan. 11, when the information about his past business decisions to circumvent U.S. law is likely to come up.
Between 2003 and 2005, Exxon Mobil made $53.2 million in sales to Iran, $600,000 in sales to Sudan, and $1.1 million in sales to Syria, according to a 2006 tax filing obtained by American Bridge, a Democratic research group.
Exxon Mobil told USA Today that they are not guilty of breaking any U.S. law because the transaction was handled through its European subsidiary, Infineum, and did not involve any U.S. employees.
In 2014, Tillerson told Exxon Mobil shareholders that the company doesn't support sanctions.
"We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to do," Tillerson said, according to U.S. News & World Report.
According to a report published by The Guardian in December 2016, Tillerson was the long-time director of a U.S.-Russian oil firm Exxon Neftegas, which is based in the tax haven of Bahamas.
Tillerson's directorship did not break any laws, but, amidst suspicions that Russian intelligence meddled with the U.S. presidential election, the idea of a potential Secretary of State with ties to Russia has come under scrutiny by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he had “serious concerns” about voting to confirm Tillerson's appointment.
According to NBC News, Tillerson holds between $109,000 and $$361,000 worth of stock in Chinese companies, such as Alibaba and Baidu.
He also holds less than $15,000 in the Russian company Yandex, which is traded on NASDAQ and, as a result, is bought and sold by many Americans.