Buffett: Sokol's Stock Purchases 'Inexcusable'

But he takes some responsibility for Berkshire Hathaway controversy

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 1, 2011 4:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – In his first public comments since announcing David Sokol’s resignation one month ago, Warren Buffett called the actions of his one-time heir apparent “inexplicable and inexcusable.” At yesterday’s shareholders meeting, Buffett also took some responsibility for the controversy surrounding Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of Lubrizol Corp., noting that he should have pushed Sokol for more information about his own stake in the company. "I obviously made a big mistake not saying, 'Well, when did you buy it?'" Buffett said.

Even so, Buffett claimed Sokol violated both the insider trading rules and code of ethics at Berkshire when he bought the Lubrizol shares and recommended Berkshire buy the company, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sokol was quick to respond: His lawyer released a statement calling Buffett’s remarks a "flip-flop and resort to transparent scapegoatism,” noting in particular that Buffett’s initial comments on the matter a month ago were far more positive, and that no new information has emerged since then. Click for more background.

This March 24, 2011 file photo shows billionaire investor Warren Buffett at a news conference in New Delhi, India.
This March 24, 2011 file photo shows billionaire investor Warren Buffett at a news conference in New Delhi, India.   (AP Photo/ Mustafa Quraishi, file)
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