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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK
Bush in shares embarrassment
President George W Bush
Mr Bush sold shares in Harken Energy Corporation
The White House has acknowledged that US President George W Bush failed to follow the law and disclose details of shares he sold when he was a company director.

A spokesman blamed the omission on a clerical mistake by company lawyers.

The president's business dealings have sparked renewed interest since the accounting irregularities at WorldCom were revealed last week.

After those problems were announced, Mr Bush said he was angry with company directors who abused their position.

Now his own actions have been called into question.

'A technicality'

In 1990, when he was a Texas businessman, Mr Bush sold a large number of shares in the Harken Energy Corporation, just before the company announced news that made the share price fall.

Mr Bush was on the auditing committee of the company at the time.

Previously the president has said that he had filed all the necessary forms regarding the sale on time with the accounting authorities.

But in a White House briefing on Wednesday, the president's spokesman acknowledged that one of the forms had, in fact, been filed late because of a clerical error.

The White House dismissed this as a technicality.

But it is enormously embarrassing in the current climate, where the spotlight has turned on good corporate governance, for the president to have failed to follow the law.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Steve Kingstone
"The president did break the rules"
Chuck Lewis from the Centre for Public Integrity
"Bush was never interviewed in the course of the investigation"
WorldCom

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02 Jul 02 | Business
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