Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Reuters, Joshua Roberts

The US Treasury Department handed down what it said was the maximum possible US$ 2 million fine to Exxon Mobil on Thursday, for alleged violations of Russia sanctions, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The deals in question happened under current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s watch, while he was in his previous role as Exxon’s chief executive. According to the Treasury, Exxon signed eight documents in 2014 relating to oil and gas projects in Russia, also signed by Russian state oil giant Rosneft, which were in violation of the sanctions.

Exxon immediately said they would challenge the fine, with one spokesman calling the fine “outrageous.”