Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil and Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, was the director of a U.S.-Russia oil firm based in the Bahamas, The Guardian reported on Sunday, citing documents leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
He led the Russian subsidiary of Exxon, Exxon Neftegas, starting in 1998, according to the documents. Exxon said he left his role as director in 2006 when he took over as CEO of Exxon, according to The Guardian.
Exxon said it incorporated some subsidiaries in the Bahamas for “simplicity and predictability,” according to The Guardian.
“It is not done to reduce tax in the country where the company operates,” Exxon said, per The Guardian. “Incorporation of a company in the Bahamas does not decrease ExxonMobil’s tax liability in the country where the entity generates its income.”
Some members of the Senate have expressed skepticism about Tillerson’s nomination to lead the State Department due to his ties to Russia. He led Exxon to strike a deal with Russia in 2011 to explore oil resources in the Arctic, after which he received the Order of Friendship honor from Russian President Vladimir Putin.