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Firm eyes suit claiming BP 401(k) plan broke law

•  National News     updated  2010/06/24 09:08


A law firm known for shareholder lawsuits on Wednesday said it is investigating whether the agents who ran BP PLC's employee savings plan violated federal law by buying BP stock.


New York-based Milberg LLP, which has sued dozens of companies on behalf of investors in many prominent companies, including scandal-plagued Enron, Worldcom and Tyco, said it is looking into whether the fiduciaries of the BP Employee Savings Plan may have violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by buying and holding on to the oil company's shares "when it was imprudent to do so."

There are four BP Employee Savings Plans, which collectively had nearly $8.27 billion invested at the end of 2009, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission submitted last week. About $2.45 billion of that was in U.S.-traded shares of BP.

BP stock has plunged since its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded nine weeks ago and began spewing up to 2.5 million gallons of oil a day. The stock closed at $60.48 in the session before the blast, and ended Wednesday trading at $29.67, a 51 percent dive

Milberg maintained the devastating effects of the spill extend to the BP plan participants. It is looking into whether the fiduciaries of the 401(k) plan knew or should have known of BP's problematic safety record, including safety measures used on the Deepwater Horizon, which would have made the stock fund an imprudent investment for participants.


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