Exxon Mobil Corp has acknowledged loss of months worth of communications from an alias email account that former CEO Rex Tillerson used to discuss climate change.
The company's attorney explained in a letter to a New York state court, in a climate fraud investigation, that emails from ''Wayne Tracker,'' account had gone missing due to a ''unique issue.''
Tillerson - whose middle name is Wayne had used the account for seven years, between 2008 and 2015.
According to the lawyer, the account was exempted from a ''file sweep'' that prevented emails from being automatically deleted ? an issue ''limited to the Wayne Tracker account.''
New York attorney Eric Schneiderman had subpoenaed Exxon in November 2015 for the documents over allegations that the company had lied to the public and its investors about the risks of climate change.
At yesterday's court hearing, a New York state judge ordered Exxon to turn over additional documents as part of the investigation and cooperate with Schneiderman's office. Exxon would also be required to track down the lost emails, Reuters reported.
Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Scneiderman, told HuffPost the court's order that Exxon ''finally produce all documents from its management committee, and to provide clear answers to the AG's office about any documents ? including those from alias accounts ? that were lost,'' came 16 months after they were subpoenaed.
On Tuesday, Exxon attorneys is a letter to the court highlighted by Buzzfeed's Mike Hayes explained how the emails were lost.
Assistant state attorney general John Oleske called the letter a "bombshell," in the hearing yesterday, alleging that Exxon failed to comply with the original subpoena in 2016.
According to the letter, the emails, dating from 5 September, 2014 to 16 September, 2015, were classified by Exxon's system as non-personal, and were wiped.
"Tillerson was the only custodian who used a secondary account, and ExxonMobil is aware of no email account, other than the Wayne Tracker account, for which this issue has arisen," the letter reads.
Exxon has been ordered by justice Barry Ostrager to produce all relevant management documents by 31 March. Exxon would also be required to produce sworn affidavits by 10 April regarding everything the company's lawyers had done to produce the, as well as also the information they knew about what was lost.