Mobil Oil Corp. has characterized as "absolutely and categorically false" charges by a House subcommittee chairman that Mobil's president may have given "false and misleading" sworn testimony to federal investigators who questioned him in 1977 about his role in a shipping management firm partially owned by his son.
The statement followed a Saturday Washington Post story that quoted a letter from Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for an investigation into Mobil's relationship with Atlas Maritime Co., which operates a number of Mobil tankers and which is 45 percent owned by Peter Tavoulareas.
Peter Tavoulareas is the 30-year-old son of William P. Tavoulareas, Mobil's president.
Dingell, who is chairman of the House subcommitte on energy and power, told SEC Chairman Harold M. Williams that Mobil may have violated federal securities laws relating to "failure to disclose material information to stockholders, conflicts of interest and the misappropriation of corporate assets."
"These charges are absolutely and categorically false," Mobil said in a two-page statement issued Sunday. "There has been no misuse of company funds. There has been no withholding of material information. There has been no false or misleading testimony. There has been no conflict of interest."
Mobil officials did not deny in the statement that Williams Tavoulareas personally intervened in his son's company to force the resignation of his son's senior partner, George D. Comnas, a former Exxon Executive.
The Mobil statement did say that Atlas reimbursed Mobil for the $90,000 in consulting fees that Mobil's president agreed to pay the Atlas partner as a "settlement" for his leaving Atlas.
In a letter to The Post Sunday. Mobil's president said that he "would welcome a renewal of the SEC investigation to put to rest once and for all these wild charges."