Report: Phil Mickelson cleared in Clorox insider-trading probe

Report: Mickelson cleared in insider trading probe

Phil Mickelson can breathe easy after a report says he is in the clear in an insider trading probe.

Tyler Lecka / Getty Images North America

Phil Mickelson had a good day on the course and off it on Thursday.

While the sentimental favorite at Pinehurst shot an opening-round 70 (even) in his bid to win his first US Open, news broke that he had been cleared in the first of two insider-trading investigations, according to a report in The NY Times.

The Hall of Fame golfer had been investigated by FBI agents probing insider-trading allegations, which the five-time major champion had publicly denied, saying he had done "absolutely nothing wrong."

From the Times report:

The golfer Phil Mickelson did not trade in the shares of Clorox as the billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn was mounting a takeover bid for the company in 2011, according to people briefed on the matter, Matthew Goldstein and Ben Protess write in DealBook. Recent news reports said that Clorox was among the stocks that federal authorities were examining as part of a two-year investigation into well-timed trades made by Mr. Mickelson and the gambler William T. Walters.

The FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission analyzed trades Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters made involving Clorox at the same time activist investor Carl Icahn was attempting to take over the company. When Icahn's intent became public, the stock price jumped, according to the Associated Press.

Mickelson and Walters remain under investigation for a seperate situation in which they made trades of Dean Foods stock in 2012 just before that company's prices skyrocketed.

Mickelson maintained before the US Open that the investigations would not be a distraction.

"It's not going to change the way I carry myself," Mickelson said at the time. "Honestly, I've done nothing wrong. I'm not going to walk around any other way.

"And that's why I've been fully cooperating with the FBI agents, and I'm happy to do in the future, too, until this gets resolved," he said.

The Times report also added:

New details suggest that Mr. Mickelson’s ties to the [Clorox] investigation are weaker than previously reported. The details also raise questions about the government’s decision to deploy what appear to be unusually aggressive tactics in the investigation, particularly when F.B.I. agents publicly approached him out of the blue.



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