WASHINGTON (AP) — A former BP employee who was a coordinator during the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has agreed to settle federal charges of using confidential information on the seriousness of the spill to profit illegally from trading in BP stock.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement of civil insider-trading charges with Keith Seilhan, saying he agreed to pay $224,118. Seilhan neither admitted nor denied the SEC's allegations but agreed to refrain from future violations of securities laws.
The agency says Seilhan was a crisis manager in BP's incident command center in Houma, Louisiana, and coordinated the initial cleanup operations after the spill that occurred April 20, 2010.
The SEC says he received private company information on the magnitude of the disaster, such as estimates of oil flow.
The explosion on the BP-operated drilling rig Deepwater Horizon four years ago killed 11 workers about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast and set off the nation's worst offshore oil disaster.
Seilhan, 47, who lives in Tomball, Texas, was a 20-year employee of the British oil company. He left BP in January 2011.
Seilhan settled the case because he "wants to avoid further distraction and protracted litigation," his attorney, Mary McNamara, said in a statement. "Mr. Seilhan is widely respected for his work helping to lead the cleanup and containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010."
Under terms of the settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge in Louisiana, Seilhan agreed to pay a $105,409 penalty and an additional $105,409 in restitution plus $13,300 in interest.
The SEC alleged in a civil lawsuit that while he had the confidential information, Seilhan sold his family's entire $1 million portfolio of BP stock on April 29 and 30 in 2010. He made profits and avoided losses totaling about $100,000 as BP stock dropped, the SEC said.
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