The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) are investigating professional golfer Phil Mickelson and gambler Billy Walters for possible illegal stock trading, according to The Wall Street and other media organizations.
Mickelson, who is playing at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio this weekend, told reporters on Saturday (May 31) that he was contacted by FBI agents on May 29 following his opening round at Muirfield Village Golf Course. The FBI and SEC are reportedly interested in Mickelson’s and Walters’ trading of Clorox Corp. stock in 2011, when Icahn acquired more than 9 percent of the stock before attempting to take over the company, driving up its value before he cashed out. Icahn apparently passed along information to Walters, who might have given a tip to Mickelson.
Icahn, who made a $10.2 billion offer for Clorox in 2011, has a net worth more of than $20 billion, according to Forbes, making him one of the 20 wealthiest Americans. The 78-year-old is known as a corporate raider who buys undervalued companies and quickly turns them around for profit.
Mickelson, a five-time major champion, released a statement at the end of his round Saturday stating, “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. I think that as a player you have to be able to block out whatever is going on off the course. It’s not going to change the way I carry myself. Honestly, I haven’t done anything wrong and I’m not going to walk around any other way.”
The Wall Street Journal also reported that the investigation is looking into 2012 trades made by Mickelson and Walters for stock of Dean Foods Co.