In a protracted probe of fraud by Exxon Mobile, the New York State Attorney General revealed Monday that the oil giant’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, shielded his true identity by using an alias and a secondary email account to hide his discussions of climate change.
Tillerson, who is now involved in talks about the Paris accord on climate change as U.S. Secretary of State, went under the moniker Wayne Tracker for about seven years, including in emails to the judge it the case. Tillerson’s middle name is Wayne.
In a letter to Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York State court, and in a court filing, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Exxon Mobil of failing to turn over all relevant documents in the case, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
The revelation comes as Exxon seeks to shut down probes by New York and Massachusetts into whether the oil company misled investors about whether or not its business was being impacted by climate change, which for a long time it publicly denied.
During discovery in the case, more than 60 documents were produced that included emails from Wayne Tracker without making it clear that was actually an alias for Tillerson.
Schneiderman and his legal team discovered the Wayne Tracker connection, which led them to also learn there were thousands of other documents which had been withheld by Exxon from the lawyers and court.
This is the latest scandal involving emails in the wake of the battle over Hillary Clinton’s use of email servers outside the government system while she was Secretary of State, and more recently revelations that Vice President Mike Pence used personal emails while Governor of Indiana. In both those cases, however, no alias was used.
During his campaign for president, Trump said he doubted the scientists who claim human beings cause climate change. When he selected Tillerson as Secretary of State, Tillerson told Senators at his confirmation hearing that climate change was real but not an “imminent threat.”
Besides Exxon’s effort to stop the state probe, the investigation is also being disputed in the House of Representatives. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith has claimed the state probes are improper because they seek to silence scientists who don’t agree with the widely accepted science that climate change is caused by human beings.
The revelations also come in the wake of statements by the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, that carbon dioxide isn’t a primary cause of climate change, despite strong scientific evidence to that effect,
It was also disclosed this week that Trump has not filled more than 40 positions in the government to be held by scientists, at least in part because he disputes what they have to say on climate change.
Schneiderman said the state probe will not be stopped by the big oil company, climate deniers or pressure from Republican members of Congress.