FBI, SEC look into Phil Mickelson, others for insider trading

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by ESPN.com news service

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Updated Friday, May 30 at 11:44 PM

(ABC News/ESPN)-- Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson is one of three men being investigated in what the Wall Street Journal calls "a major insider-trading probe involving finance, gambling and sports," the newspaper reported on its website Friday night.

According to the Journal, the investigation also involves Carl Icahn, a 78-year-old billionaire who runs the publicly traded Icahn Enterprises, and William "Billy" Walters, a famed Las Vegas bettor and real-estate mogul.

The newspaper, citing people briefed on the probe, reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into whether Mickelson and Walters traded nonpublic information they allegedly received from Icahn about his investments in public companies. Both the FBI and SEC are reviewing the trading patterns of both Mickelson and Walters as part of an investigation that began three years ago when Icahn made a $10.2 billion offer for Clorox, causing the stock to jump, the report said.

According to the Journal, two FBI agents approached Mickelson after his opening round at the Memorial tournament Thursday in Dublin, Ohio, to discuss the investigation. Mickelson told them to speak to his attorney.

Glenn Cohen, a lawyer for Mickelson, told the Journal on Friday: "Phil is not the target of any investigation. Period." Cohen also said an FBI agent has told him that Mickelson is not a target of the investigation.

Icahn also denied knowledge of the probe, telling the Journal: "We do not know of any investigation. We are always very careful to observe all legal requirements in all of our activities."

According to the Journal, Icahn and Walters have a past friendship. Mickelson and Walters, meanwhile, play golf together, and on occasion Walters has suggested stocks for Mickelson to consider buying, the newspaper reported, citing a person familiar with their relationship.

Mickelson shot 72-70 in the opening two rounds of the Memorial and is tied for 37th. He tees off for the third round at 10:27 a.m. ET on Saturday.

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