BP employee’s husband pleads guilty to insider trading after overhearing deal calls

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The husband of a BP employee has pleaded guilty to insider trading for illegal share purchases he made after overhearing his wife talking about a deal while working from home.

Tyler Loudon admitted to making more than $1.7mn in illegal profits from buying up thousands of shares in TravelCenters of America ahead of its $1.3bn acquisition by BP in February 2023, the US Attorney’s office in Houston said.

Sentencing has been set for May 17, when Loudon faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission said in a parallel civil complaint that Loudon and his wife, a BP mergers and acquisitions manager, worked “within 20 feet of each other” at home and frequently witnessed and overheard each other’s work-related conversations.

Eric Werner, director of the SEC’s Fort Worth office, said Loudon “took advantage of his remote working conditions and his wife’s trust to profit from information he knew was confidential”.

BP declined to comment, while Loudon could not be reached for comment.

In its civil complaint, the SEC wrote that Loudon had bought 46,450 shares in Ohio-based fuel station chain TravelCenters of America in the weeks before its takeover by BP, which he financed by selling shares in other companies to a value of more than $2mn.

It said TA’s share price rose from $49.94 to $84.83 when the deal was made public on February 16 2023, whereupon Loudon sold all his TA holdings for a profit of $1.76mn.

The SEC said Loudon’s wife had worked on BP’s acquisition of TA during 2022, including while the couple holidayed in Rome in late December.

It said Loudon’s wife acknowledged discussing the deal with Loudon “during the normal course of marital communications” and that Loudon knew “or was severely reckless in not knowing” that such information was non-public and that he had a duty to keep it confidential.

Loudon, the SEC said, did not initially tell his wife about his buying and selling of TA stock but confessed to her in April 2023 after she told him that all BP employees who worked on the deal would come under scrutiny.

“Stunned by this revelation,” the SEC said, Loudon’s wife reported it to her supervisor at BP and was put on administrative leave. BP, the SEC said, found no evidence that she knowingly leaked information to Loudon but nonetheless terminated her employment.

Loudon’s wife moved out of their house, it said, and began divorce proceedings in June 2023.

The SEC described Loudon as currently employed by a publicly traded company. It asked the court to ban him from acting as an officer or director of any US-listed company, to recover with interest “all ill-gotten gains” from the alleged violations and to impose civil penalties.

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