SAExploration Received a $6.8 Million Taxpayer-Backed PPP Loan From Trump Administration Despite Being Under Investigation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – News broke earlier this week in Alaska that the former executive of multi-national oil corporation SAExploration was arrested and charged with wire and securities fraud by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after a multi-year investigation. Astonishingly, despite being the subject of an active investigation, the Trump administration awarded SAExploration a $6.8 million Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) taxpayer-backed loan in May.
“Handing out nearly $7 million in taxpayer dollars to a large multi-national oil corporation whose former executive was arrested for wire and securities fraud epitomizes the Trump administration’s failure to perform basic due diligence prior to awarding these funds,” said Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US president. “The taxpayer money grab by corrupt, well-connected corporations in Trump’s PPP should be investigated and these funds should immediately be returned to help struggling small businesses without criminal rap sheets.”
According to reporting by Alaska Public Media, SAExploration’s former executive Jeff Hastings was arrested last Friday by the FBI on multiple counts of wire and securities fraud. The 14-page complaint from the FBI details numerous allegations of criminal activity including, making “false and misleading statements” and “setting up shell organizations to move money.” Accountable.US previously exposed the corporation’s PPP loan and that it was under investigation by both the SEC and FBI back in May.
SAExploration is embroiled with the Trump administration’s efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling. The corporation applied to conduct seismic testing in the region back in 2018 and was part of an ethics investigation into the Trump administration’s former ANWR point-person. The investigation found that former Interior Department official Steve Wackowski violated his ethics pledge after meeting with another smaller business run by Hastings. Secretary Bernhardt failed to take any action against Wackowski for the violation prior to his departure.
Read the full Accountable.US research report on SAExploration here.