DOJ monitoring BP's big moves

Greenpeace demonstrators hang a flag reading "British Polluters" at the British Petrolium (BP) headquarters in central London,

TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: It's 10 o'clock, do you know where BP is? The Justice Department is working on that. It's asked BP for advance warning of any plan it makes that would impact the company's future. Things like signing a deal with foreign investors. The BBC's Rebecca Singer has more.


Rebecca Singer: As if BP didn't have enough on its plate, it's now got the U.S. Attorney General breathing down its neck. And a report in today's Financial Times says the news shows just how closely the Obama administration is watching the oil giant's every move.

But Justin Urqhart Stewart, a fund manager with Seven Investment Management, is unsettled by it:

Justin Urqhart Stewart: In the land of the free, this is most unusual to actually see this sort of direct intervention. This is not a commercial problem for BP anymore, it is a political world they're now in.

BP hasn't yet responded to the letter. But with the possibility of billion-dollar fines and being stripped of drilling permits, industry insiders think BP will agree to the request.

At the moment though, its chief executive is travelling the world. He's just landed in Abu Dhabi, one of BP's main partners in the Middle East. A trip that the U.S. government is no doubt keeping a very close eye on.

In London, I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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