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    Posted June 5, 2010 by
    charleston, South Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Oil disaster views and solutions

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    BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill


    The chief executive of BP sold £1.4 million of his shares in the  fuel giant    weeks before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused its value to  collapse.


    BP chief executive Tony Hayward has been  under intense pressure since the oil well erupted on April 20

    Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one  month    before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an  environmental    disaster.

    Mr Hayward, whose pay package is £4 million a year, then paid off the  mortgage    on his family’s mansion in Kent, which is estimated to be valued at  more    than £1.2 million.

    There is no suggestion that he acted improperly or had prior knowledge  that    the company was to face the biggest setback in its history.

    His decision, however, means he avoided losing more than £423,000 when  BP’s    share price plunged after the oil spill began six weeks ago.

    Since he disposed of 223,288 shares on March 17, the company’s share  price has    fallen by 30 per cent. About £40 billion has been wiped off its total  value.    The fall has caused pain not just for BP shareholders, but also for  millions    of company pension funds and small investors who have money held in  tracker    funds.

    The spill, which has still not been stemmed, has caused a serious    environmental crisis and is estimated to cost BP up to £40 billion to  clean    up.

    There was growing confidence yesterday that a new cap placed over the  well was    stemming the oil flow. An estimated three million litres a day had  been    pouring into the sea off the coast of Louisiana since the April 20    explosion, damaging marine life.

    The crisis has enraged US politicians, with President Obama yesterday  forced    to cancel a trip to Indonesia amid a row over the White House’s  response.

    Mr Hayward, whose position is thought to be under threat, risked further  fury    by continuing plans to pay out a dividend to investors next month.


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