Citi bankers "shocked" at Sokol Lubrizol shares: report

Sat Apr 2, 2011 2:05pm EDT
 

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Bankers at Citigroup were unaware when discussing the possible sale of chemical company Lubrizol Corp with the man tipped to succeed Warren Buffett that he had any intention to buy shares himself, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought Lubrizol in mid-March. Sokol resigned last week over the share purchase.

According to the Journal report, bankers met with Berkshire executive David Sokol to discuss Lubrizol on December 13. It then came as a "shock" to them to discover that Sokol had bought more than 96,000 shares in the company a few weeks later.

Sokol's share purchase generated a personal profit for him of at least $2.98 million when Berkshire bought the chemical company.

Buffett said he did not think Sokol had broken the law, but the incident has been seen as a possible blow to the reputation of the 80-year-old "Oracle of Omaha."

The Journal said that at the December 13 meeting with Citigroup bankers, Sokol made no mention of the fact that he intended to buy Lubrizol shares.

Citigroup declined to comment on the report.

(Reporting by Nick Carey; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

 
<p>People walk past a Citibank branch in New York, October 18, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>