The US Treasury intends to unload its 27% stake in bailed-out bank Citigroup using a preset trading plan that will lock the government into a schedule for selling its shares, people with direct knowledge of the matter said. The program, which may be announced next month, is similar to those used by executives to protect themselves against accusations of insider trading, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t final. The Treasury would be able to issue instructions on how many shares to sell, when to sell them and at what price while eliminating concern that the sales are based on non-public information. “What they are looking to do is to optimize taxpayer return while ensuring market stability,” said Stephen Myrow, a former Treasury official who is now managing director at ACG Analytics Inc., a Washington-based investment research firm. A sale of the Treasury’s shares, which could be completed this year, would bring Citigroup a step closer to exiting the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. The firm had to get a $45bn infusion of taxpayer money in late 2008 as withering confidence in the bank almost triggered a deposit run.