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Countrywide CEO's sale of stock questioned

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — State Treasurer Richard Moore has asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the timing of stock sales made by the chief executive of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp.

Moore, the trustee of a pension fund that holds about 500,000 shares of Countrywide stock worth about $9.6 million, said in an Oct. 8 letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox that he was "shocked" to learn that CEO Angelo Mozilo "apparently manipulated his trading plans to cash in" as the subprime crisis was heating up.

"As one of many investors who have felt the painful losses in Countrywide stock, I am outraged at his manipulation of the system and this abuse of shareholders," Moore wrote. "The timing of these sales and the changes to the trading plans raise serious questions about whether this is mere coincidence."