The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an informal investigation into the stock sales of Countrywide Financial Corp. founder, chairman, and chief executive Angelo Mozilo, according to combined news reports.The company has declined to comment on the matter. Over the past three years Mr. Mozilo has exercised options and sold shares, but last fall he made changes in his stock selling program to accelerate sales. The stock sales have been made under a planned program referred to as 10b5-1. The North Carolina state treasurer -- on behalf of state pension funds that own Countrywide stock -- recently asked the SEC to investigate Mr. Mozilo's stock sales. This spring, in an interview with National Mortgage News, the Countrywide CEO addressed critics who had questioned his massive selling. He said if he kept all the shares, he'd have to pay taxes on them. "These critics expect me to hold my shares forever?" he said. Countrywide can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com.

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