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BP manager's husband pleads guilty to US insider trading that led to divorce case

Published 02/22/2024, 05:14 PM
Updated 02/22/2024, 05:55 PM
© Reuters.

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) -The husband of a former BP (NYSE:BP) manager pleaded guilty on Thursday in Texas to insider trading after overhearing his wife, who later began divorce proceedings, talk about the oil company's planned purchase of truck stop operator TravelCenters (NASDAQ:TA) of America.

Tyler Loudon, 42, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in Houston federal court and agreed to forfeit $1.76 million of illegal proceeds, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Alamdar Hamdani in Houston.

Loudon, of Houston, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his scheduled May 17 sentencing before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake.

He also agreed to settle a related U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil case, including by paying a civil fine.

A lawyer for Loudon did not immediately respond to requests for comment. BP did not immediately respond to separate requests.

Authorities said Loudon bought 46,450 TravelCenters shares without his wife's knowledge over a 1-1/2 month period, after overhearing several work conversations about the planned $1.3 billion TravelCenters takeover while she was working remotely.

TravelCenters' share price rose 71% after the takeover was announced on Feb. 16, 2023, and Loudon quickly sold his shares, authorities said.

According to the SEC, Loudon stunned his wife by admitting he bought the shares to make enough money so she could work shorter hours.

The SEC said BP later put Loudon's wife on administrative leave and then fired her despite finding no proof she knowingly leaked the takeover or knew about her husband's trading.

She moved out of the house she shared with Loudon and began divorce proceedings last June, the SEC added.

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