Icahn, Golfer Mickelson Faces Insider-Trading Probe

Jun 2 2014 | 6:34am ET

Carl Icahn is at the center of a major new insider-trading investigation, alongside a famous gambler and one of golf’s most popular players.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Securities and Exchange Commission are probing whether the bettor, William Walters, and the golfer, Phil Mickelson, were tipped off by Icahn about his investments in, among other companies, Clorox Co. Mickelson was approached by a pair of FBI agents on Thursday, as he finished a round of the Memorial Tournament in Ohio, The Wall Street Journal reports.

At issue is whether Icahn alerted Walters, with whom he has developed a friendship, about his trading over the past three years. On at least one of those occasions, Walters may have then notified Mickelson, with whom he occasionally golfs and talks stocks.

The startling turn in the investigation comes three years after its launch, when authorities began to look into unusual trading in advance of Icahn’s failed offer for Clorox. The SEC and FBI are also probing Walters’ and Mickelson’s trading of Dean Foods, which Icahn denied ever owning.

“We do not know of any investigation,” Icahn told Bloomberg Television. “Further, we are always very careful to observe all legal requirements on all our activities. We believe that making inflammatory and speculative statements, especially when we’re had an umblemished record for 50 years, is completely irresponsible on the part of The Wall Street Journal.”

“While I have obviously heard of Phil Mickelson, I have never spoken to him or met him.”

“Phil is not the target of any investigation, period,” Mickelson’s lawyer, Glenn Cohen, told the Journal. Mickelson himself told the paper that he has been “fully cooperating with the FBI agents.”

News of the investigation may have thrown a monkey-wrench into it: According to the Journal, its revelation has short-circuited efforts by federal authorities to deploy wiretaps. Such eavesdropping has proven critical to previous federal insider-trading cases.


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