Enlarge image

Illegal stock purchases: The husband wanted to earn enough money "so that she no longer has to work long hours"

Photo: Dado Ruvic / REUTERS

He listened to his wife's business phone calls and then secretly bought shares: In the USA, Tyler Loudon, the husband of a BP employee, has been charged with insider trading, as the BBC news channel reports.

The man said he overheard details of calls from his wife while he was working from home.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says Loudon made $1.76 million in illegal profits this way.

Apparently he heard several conversations from his wife about BP's acquisition of TravelCenters of America and then bought shares in the company.

BP declined to comment.

"We allege that Mr. Loudon exploited his home office working conditions and his wife's trust to profit from information that he knew was confidential," the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

His wife - a mergers and acquisitions manager at BP - worked on the oil giant's acquisition of TravelCenters.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Loudon bought 46,450 shares of TravelCenters without his wife's knowledge before the deal was made public last February.

Loudon apparently profited greatly from his unauthorized insider knowledge: After the announcement of the takeover, TravelCenters' share price rose by almost 71 percent - Loudon allegedly immediately sold all of his newly purchased shares at a profit, according to the stock exchange regulator.

Work in confined spaces

During the negotiations between BP and TravelCenters, Loudon and his wife apparently worked together in a confined space in their home office.

"As a result, they often overheard each other's work-related conversations and video conferences," said the stock market regulator.

The woman also worked on the deal when the couple stayed in a "small Airbnb" in Rome, the lawsuit says.

When the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority began asking questions about the BP deal, Loudon eventually confessed to his wife that he had bought the TravelCenters shares.

Apparently he decided to do this because he "wanted to earn enough money so that she doesn't have to work long hours anymore."

The “stunned” wife then reported the trade to her superior at BP.

Good luck in stock trading, bad luck in love

An examination of her emails and texts found no evidence of complicity in her husband's insider trading.

BP terminated her employment anyway.

In response, Loudon's wife moved out of their house and stopped all contact with her previous partner.

She also filed for divorce in June.

Loudon, who confessed, has since admitted the allegations and agreed to pay a fine.

He also faces possible criminal charges.

If convicted, he could face a prison sentence.