Judge rules Exxon not guilty of fraud on climate change regulations

Judge rules Exxon not guilty of fraud on climate change regulations
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A New York state judge on Tuesday exonerated oil giant ExxonMobil on charges of fraud.

New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the company of using two different accounting methods when making projections about business costs in countries that were implementing policies to fight climate change, The Wall Street Journal reports, which, the attorney general asserted, cost shareholders up to $1.6 billion.

However, New York State Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager said that James's office failed to prove that ExxonMobil violated antifraud laws such as the Martin Act.

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“The Office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,” Justice Ostrager wrote in his decision.

However, Ostrager made it clear that his verdict didn't let the company off the hook for any charges related to "contributing to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases in the production of its fossil fuel products."

“The court agreed that the Attorney General failed to make a case, even with the extremely low threshold of the Martin Act in its favor,” an ExxonMobil spokesman told The Journal.

The oil company still has similar ongoing cases with the Massachusetts attorney general, as well as suits filed by shareholders.