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ExxonMobil accounting probe by SEC ends with no action

[NEW YORK] The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) closed a two-year-old investigation into whether Exxon Mobil should have written down assets during the energy slump, according to a person familiar with the probe.

The agency sent a letter to the energy giant Thursday saying investigators who opened the probe in 2016 didn't recommend an enforcement action at this time, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter isn't public. The message included a standard disclaimer that the decision shouldn't be seen as an exoneration and the probe could be reopened later.

Exxon was alerted to the SEC's decision the same day President Donald Trump's administration announced a plan to roll back car emission standards that were a signature environmental achievement of former President Barack Obama. Democratic state attorneys general, led by California, promised a legal challenge.

An Exxon Mobil spokesman didn't have an immediate comment. An email to the SEC wasn't immediately returned.

The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts are still investigating whether Exxon's public statements about climate change misled investors.

The inquiries stem from larger questions about whether Exxon has for decades failed to alert investors about potential climate-change risks for a company with annual sales that could rival the world's top 50 national economies.


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