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Exxon: Charges With Fraud Not Proven

US oil giant, the world's biggest integrated oil producer, Exxon Mobil Corp

US oil giant, the world?s biggest integrated oil producer, Exxon Mobil Corp. asked the Alabama Supreme Court on Thursday to throw out its verdict, saying it was based on fraud claims that were never proven, Associated Press reported..

The company's appeal is an attempt to strike down a $3.5 billion punitive damage judgment set by a Montgomery judge after a jury ruled Exxon Mobil cheated the state out of royalties from natural gas wells drilled in state-owned waters along the Alabama coast

The $3.5 billion punitive award is based on the state's unproven allegations of fraud," Exxon Mobil attorney Charles Matthews said.

In order to award punitive damages, the jury had to find that fraud occurred. Exxon Mobil's appeal argues that it had a contract dispute with the state over how to determine the amount of royalties and that punitive damages are not allowed "because there was no fraud."

Robert Cunningham, an attorney representing the state, said Exxon Mobil made the same argument to jurors, and they didn't buy it.

"It's the same old song and dance -- everybody is wrong but us," Cunningham said.