Phil Mickelson Investigated For Insider Trading

Update, June 11: The New York Times rows it back a little:

Although Mr. Icahn and Mr. Walters remain under investigation over Clorox, the F.B.I. and the Securities and Exchange Commission have found no evidence that Mr. Mickelson traded Clorox shares. The overstated scope of the investigation came from information provided to The Times by other people briefed on the matter who have since acknowledged making a mistake.


Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters, as previously reported, still face an investigation over separate well-timed trades they made in Dean Foods in 2012 just before the company's stock soared. Those trades generated more than $15 million in proceeds for Mr. Walters and nearly $1 million for Mr. Mickelson, one of the four people briefed on the matter said. Mr. Mickelson has denied any wrongdoing.

Original post: Two FBI agents approached Phil Mickelson after his Thursday round at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio based on his involvement in a "major insider-trading probe" into the trading habits of investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas betting guru Billy Walters. The FBI and SEC are investigating whether Mickelson and Walters traded illegally on nonpublic information, provided by Icahn, about Icahn's investments in public companies. Mickelson directed the agents to his attorney and today released a statement denying any wrongdoing.

"I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so. I wish I could fully discuss this matter, but under the current circumstances it's just not possible."

A Mickelson attorney also told the Wall Street Journal that they were told by an FBI agent that he was not a target.


The meat of the investigation has to do with some fishy trading during Icahn's attempted buyout of Clorox in 2011, but Mickelson has been drawn in through his relationship with Walters. Mickelson and Walters golf together and Walters will sometimes suggest stocks for Phil to buy, according to an anonymous Journal source. Although Icahn claims to not know who Phil Mickelson is, he and Walters are gambling buddies. As a result of the trickle-down relationship, the feds became interested in Mickelson's and Walter's trading behavior with respect to Dean Foods, Co.

Icahn says he has never traded in Dean Foods and denied any knowledge of the investigation. Walters refused to comment.


"We do not know of any investigation," Mr. Icahn said on Friday. "We are always very careful to observe all legal requirements in all of our activities." The suggestion that he was involved in improper trading, he said, was "inflammatory and speculative."


When asked to comment about the investigation, Mr. Walters, reached by phone on Friday, said, "I don't have any comment about anything," and then hung up.

Mickelson shot a 72 and 70 in the first two rounds of the Memorial and entered play today in 37th place.

Image via Palm Beach Post

FBI, SEC Probe Trading of Carl Icahn, Billy Walters, Phil Mickelson [WSJ]