Climate groups critical of ExxonMobil were targeted in a mass email hacking operation, according to The Daily Caller. The hackers were reportedly hired by an Israeli private detective in 2017, says Lee Wasserman, the director of the Rockefeller Family Fund.
The groups that were also targeted include Greenpeace, 350.org, and Public Citizen. Wasserman told the Wall Street Journal that the man leading the operation was Aviram Azari, who he alleged was working on behalf of corporate actors in the United States. He claims that the information gathered from the hacking is used to ward off accountability for their actions. He called their actions “deception” and a “sorry chapter for civil society.”
The Family Fund alleges that the company hid information about climate change risks and Exxon is now being sued by the state of New York over charges that they lied to their investors. The suit claims that the company applied a “low proxy cost” or none at all, despite telling investors that they had accounted for greenhouse-gas regulations.
But Exxon denies these allegations. In a statement to The Daily Caller, they wrote that they do not have any knowledge of Azari or any of the allegations of hacking brought against them.
Though Azari has been arrested in 2019, he has not opened up to investigators as to the identity of his clients. He has since pled guilty to wire fraud, identity theft, and hacking conspiracy in 2022. He is awaiting sentencing.
Court documents show communication between Azari and the hacking group. Information was related to their targets’ family, friends, and coworkers. It was also revealed that Azari and the hackers illegally obtained emails from their targets.
A report by Reuters details how Azari was also involved in hacking operations while hired by Russian oligarchs.