Friday, April 18, 2014

BP Crisis Team Member Accused Of Profiting From 2010 Spill

When is the last time you heard about a member of a crisis team working on a major (or minor) corporate crisis that turned that crisis response into a personal million dollar windfall?

A former BP crisis team leader is facing federal insider trading charges for using confidential information about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.  He stands accused of taking advantage of the oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and polluted the ocean and coast of the Southeast United States to unload his $1-million portfolio of BP stock.

Keith Seilhan was responsible for coordinating BP's containment and clean-up response.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Seilhan of using insider crisis team information to "avoid losses and reap unjust profits" as BP securities dropped nearly 48-percent in the wake of the disaster.

In addition to the 11 deaths, the Gulf of Mexico was polluted with 84 days of uncontrolled spillage that dumped an estimated 200-million gallons of crude oil.  

Seilhan's attorney, Mary McNamara told USA Today reporter Kevin McCoy, her client wants to avoid further distraction and protracted litigation. And then she added, he's "widely respected for his work helping to lead the clean-up and containment efforts."

Was she talking about "the clean-up" of the spilled crude oil, or his alleged "cleaning up" financially?

In the days immediately after the explosion and uncontrolled flow of oil, the company publicly reported they were losing about 5,000 barrels of oil per day, but the SEC says Seilhan learned from his role on the crisis team that the rate of loss was between 64,000 to 110,000 barrels a day. He is accused of selling 87,512 shares of BP Stock and three BP stock-option grants.