The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

May 31, 2014

Mickelson says he’s cooperating in trading probe

DUBLIN, Ohio — Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson confirmed that FBI agents investigating insider trading approached him this week at the Memorial Tournament. The five-time major champion said Saturday he has done “absolutely nothing wrong.”

A federal official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are analyzing 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.

The official was unauthorized to speak about the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Reports of the investigation appeared in several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.

Smiling as he stood before a room packed with reporters and cameras, Mickelson said the case had not been a distraction until FBI agents approached him after his opening round Thursday.

He said it would not affect his preparations for the U.S. Open in two weeks, the only major he lacks for the career Grand Slam.

“It’s not going to change the way I carry myself,” Mickelson said after an even-par 72 left him far behind the leaders. “Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”

The federal official told the AP that Mickelson and Walters placed their trades about the same time in 2011. Federal investigators are looking into whether Icahn shared information of his takeover attempt of Clorox with Walters, and whether Walters passed that information to Mickelson.

The New York offices of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI declined to comment.

The newspaper reports said federal officials also were examining trades by Mickelson and Walters involving Dean Foods Co. in 2012.

After a brief interview, Mickelson stepped outside and signed autographs for about 20 minutes, like it was any other day at a tournament. Fans were supportive as ever on the golf course, and Mickelson gave away so many golf balls to children and his caddie asked a tour official to retrieve more balls from his locker when they reached the turn.

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