NEW YORK — The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating possible insider trading involving golfer Phil Mickelson, billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William Walters, a person familiar with the matter said.
Federal investigators are looking into whether Mickelson and Walters may have traded illegally on private information provided by Icahn about his investments in public corporations, the person said, confirming a report by the Wall Street Journal on Friday.
Icahn said that he was unaware of any federal insider-trading investigation involving him and that he had never divulged insider information during his 50 years as an investor.
“We do not know of any investigation,” Icahn said by telephone. “Further, we are always very careful to observe all legal requirements in all of our activities. We believe that making inflammatory and speculative statements, especially when we’ve had an unblemished record for 50 years, is clearly irresponsible.”
Mickelson and Walters were not immediately available for comment. Spokesmen for the FBI and SEC declined to comment.
The investigation is the latest case to emerge from a multiyear crackdown on insider trading by U.S. authorities. It involves two of the highest-profile personalities in finance and sports: famously combative activist investor Icahn and multiple Masters champion Mickelson.
Walters, who plays golf with Mickelson and is a well-known sports bettor, met Icahn through a mutual acquaintance and struck up a friendship, the report said.
The investigation into the three centers on suspicious trades in Clorox options days before Icahn announced a bid to acquire the company in 2011, the Journal said.