Exxon Mobil is yet again the center of attention over allegations it misled investors on how it accounts for climate change risks. Immediate court proceedings indicate that New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has asked that court to force the oil giant to hand over additional documents to aid in the ongoing probe.
Schneiderman’s Cost Proxy Claims
Court fillings indicate that Mr. Schneiderman is of the opinion that the company holds two sets of estimates on how it believes climate regulations will affect its business in future. According to the AG, one of the estimates is usually fed to investors with the other one used privately for decision making by the company’s top hierarchy. The AG is of the opinion that the company’s practice of using two sets of data is not in the best interests of investors.
ExxonMobil has not denied the availability of two figures used to determine carbon price figures. However, it insists the practice is not in any way geared towards misleading investors.
“ExxonMobil’s use of different metrics, in different circumstances, to accomplish different goals evinces prudent financial stewardship, applying appropriate assumptions in appropriate cases. There is nothing untoward or surprising about any of this, “said the company’s lead lawyer Ted Wells.
Mr. Wells has gone as far as reiterating that the attorney general allegations are not only misleading, but politically motivated. This is not the first time that Exxon has been at crossheads with Democrat Attorney General, the oil giant having been previously taken to task on how it accounts for climate risks.
Schneiderman faces an uphill task to prove that ExxonMobil is indeed guilty of fraud on the way it accounts for climate risks. The fact that the evidence is entirely depended on the kind of documents that ExxonMobil hands over all but complicates the case. Regulations on such disclosures are also in their early stages, providing ExxonMobil leverage in the case.
Since the case began in 2015, the AG has struggled to prove his case, especially on ExxonMobil Allegedly permanently deleting emails used by former CEO, Rex Tillerson. Request for additional documents by Mr. Schneiderman has also not gone well with the oil giant lawyers who insists the nearly 3 million pages of documents already handed over are more than enough.
“No further evidence is required to establish the political motivation of the attorney general’s fruitless year-and-a-half long investigation pursuing his ever-shifting and unraveling investigative theories,” said ExxonMobil Attorney’s