SEC Investigates Insider Trading at BP
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly investigating whether employees at BP illegally profited from information not made available to the public in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to anonymous sources quoted by Reuters.
According to the report, the investigation is still in the preliminary stages.
BP admitted last week that the SEC and the Department of Justice were conducting “informal inquiries into securities matters arising in relation” to the offshore rig explosion and subsequent spill.
The SEC has yet to give official confirmation of the probe.
In the two months following the spill, BP share prices plummeted — shaving off half of the company’s market value. As pessimistic news about failed efforts to cap the leaking well was released, investor confidence took hit after hit causing the stock to tumble. This may have potentially enabled someone with insider knowledge of the failed attempts to replace the well cap before it was known to the public to have capitalized on such information in an illegal manner.
The exact targets of the investigation are unknown at this time.
The news that BP investors may have been taken advantage of comes at a crucial time, just as BP is beginning to unveil its restructuring plan in a bid to regain investor confidence lost in the wake of the oil spill.