Phil Mickelson teed off in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday just as the New York Times reported that he was not involved in insider trading of shares of Clorox stock. An investigation is continuing into the trading of shares of Dean Foods stock.
Mickelson did not, according to the Times, trade in shares of Clorox stock as the billionaire Carl Icahn was beginning a takeover bid for the company in 2011. The Times explains:
Recent reports in The New York Times and other news organizations 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 sports gambler William T. Walters. Initially, authorities pursued a theory that Mr. Icahn shared private details of his Clorox bid with Mr. Walters, who then traded on the information and passed on the tip to Mr. Mickelson.
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.
The F.B.I. is pursuing a criminal investigation, while the S.E.C. is running a parallel civil inquiry.
Mickelson and Walters will, however, remain under investigation for “separate well-timed trades they made in Dean Foods in 2012 just before the company’s stock soared,” according to the Times. “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.”
Mickelson has denied any wrongdoing.