A former BP executive’s husband, Tyler Loudon, has been charged with insider trading ahead of an announcement of the British oil and gas giant’s acquisition of TravelCenters of America in February 2023.

According to the US SEC, Loudon made $1.76m in illegal profits by allegedly misappropriating material and eavesdropping on non-public information about the proposed acquisition from his wife, a bp mergers and acquisitions manager at the time, while working from home. 

On 16 February 2023, BP Products North America, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of bp, agreed to purchase US travel centre operator TravelCenters of America for $1.3bn in cash acquisition, giving it access to a network of US gas stations. 

On 15 May 2023, the company announced the completion of the TravelCenters of America acquisition as part of bp’s plans to develop its “convenience and mobility offers through transition growth engines” like electric vehicle charging, biofuel and hydrogen. 

Without the former bp employee’s knowledge, Loudon purchased 46,450 TravelCenters shares ahead of the announcement, which he confessed was to make enough money so his wife could work shorter hours. When the stocks rose by 71% due to the announcement, Loudon sold all his TravelCenters shares, making a large profit.

Eric Werner, regional director of the SEC’s Fort Worth office, said on 22 February: “We allege that Loudon took advantage of his remote working conditions and his wife’s trust to profit from information he knew was confidential.” 

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According to the SEC, bp put the executive on administrative leave and eventually fired her despite having no evidence of her involvement in insider trading, Reuters reported

BP has not commented on the development of the case with Loudon yet. Loudon’s lawyer told CNBC: “Loudon made a terrible mistake in judgment for which he has taken full responsibility”.

Loudon will be sentenced on 17 May before US District Judge Sim Lake, potentially facing a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.