White House adviser says Kodak execs made ‘dumbest decisions’ on government loan

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro criticized decisions by Kodak’s leadership team during a recent CNBC interview discussing the company’s insider trading allegations.

Kodak received a $765 million loan from the federal government July 28 to expedite domestic drug production and lessen the country’s reliance on foreign suppliers. That loan was put on hold Aug. 7 when the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. tweeted it would not proceed with the Kodak deal until allegations of insider trading were cleared.

DFC’s tweet came after the emergence of Securities and Exchange Commission filings showing Kodak’s executive chair and a Kodak board member had loaded up on shares shortly before the government deal was announced.

“Based on what I’m seeing, what happened at Kodak was probably the dumbest decisions made by executives in corporate history,” Mr. Navarro said during the Aug. 17 interview. “You can’t even anticipate that degree of stupidity.”

The loan will remain on hold as the SEC conducts its investigation into Kodak’s disclosure of the deal. Mr. Navarro told CNBC the White House will focus on other projects associated with its coronavirus response as Kodak is investigated both internally and by the SEC.

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