Phil Mickelson could be looking at prison time after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened up an investigation into possible insider trading.
The investigation reportedly involves some other big names, including billionaire Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William Walters. Authorities believe Mickelson and Walters may have traded using private information supplied by Icahn. But Icahn denies the allegations, telling Reuters that he knew nothing of the FBI and SEC investigation.
“I am very proud of my 50-year unblemished record and have never given out insider information,” he said.
Reuters shared more details about the case against Phil Mickelson:
The investigation centers on suspicious trades in Clorox Co by Walters and Mickelson as Icahn was trying for access to the board of the consumer products company in 2011, the New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the probe.
Icahn had accumulated a 9.1 percent stake in Clorox in February 2011. In July, he made an offer for the company that valued it at above $10 billion and sent its stock soaring.
Investigators were also looking into trades that Mickelson and Walters made related to Dean Foods Co, the [Wall Street Journal] cited the people as saying.
Authorities reportedly caught on to the potential insider trading by the timing of the activity.
“Well-timed trading around the time of his bid caught the attention of investigators, who began digging into the suspicious trading in Clorox stock, the people familiar with the probe said,” according to the Journal article.
According to the Wall Street Journal, two FBI agents approach Phil Mickelson after he finished the opening round at the Memorial tournament on Thursday. He directed them to his attorney, Glenn Cohen, who later publicly denied that the golfer was being accused of wrongdoing.
“Phil is not the target of any investigation. Period,” Cohen said.
But if Phil Mickelson were under investigation, he could be facing prison time. As Martha Stewart found out, federal authorities don’t make exceptions for celebrities.