Husband of BP worker guilty of insider trading

The husband of a BP manager has pleaded guilty to insider trading after overhearing his wife talking about a major deal while she was working from home.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), alleged that Tyler Loudon made £1.4m in illegal profits from this eavesdropping.

The regulator claimed Loudon bought thousands of shares in TravelCenters of America (TA) after discovering it was on the verge of a being bought by the energy giant. 

He had overheard his wife, who was then a BP mergers and acquisitions manager, discussing the takeover while they were working from home within 20 feet of each other.

This prompted Loudon to buy 46,450 TravelCenters shares without her knowledge before the deal was made public, the SEC said.

Probe: The US Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Tyler Loudon made £1.4m in illegal profits from this eavesdropping

In February last year, BP formally announced it would be buying TravelCenters for £1billion – sending the fuel station group’s shares flying over 70 per cent. Loudon, 42, quickly sold all his shares in the company – making him a profit of £1.4m.

He did not initially tell his wife about his trading but later confessed to her in April 2023.

Loudon’s wife had worked on BP’s acquisition of TravelCenters during 2022, including while the couple went on holiday in Rome in late December.

The filing said Loudon’s wife said she had discussed the deal with Loudon ‘during the normal course of marital communications’ and that Loudon knew ‘or was severely reckless in not knowing’ that he had a duty to keep it confidential.

According to the filing, Loudon said he bought the stock because ‘he wanted to make enough money so that she did not have to work long hours anymore’. But Eric Werner, regional director at the SEC, said Loudon ‘took advantage of his remote working conditions and his wife’s trust to profit from information he knew was confidential’.

His wife reported his trades to BP, who fired her despite finding no evidence that she knowingly leaked the deal.

BP reviewed Loudon’s wife’s emails and texts, finding no evidence that she leaked the acquisition or knew about her husband’s trading.

The filing said Loudon is employed with an unnamed publicly listed company.

His wife began divorce proceedings in June 2023. As part of his plea agreement, he will forfeit the cash. He will be sentenced in May and faces up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as £197,000.

BP declined to comment.

The saga will raise alarm bells for City firms, who regularly allow deal makers to work from home. Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has previously warned about managing insider trading risks when working from home following the pandemic.