June 2 - The Feds could have a tough time bringing an insider trading case against golfer Phil Mickelson, investor Carl Icahn and gambler William Walters. Fred Katayama reports.
Fore! The Feds may have a tough time bringing an insider trading case against the masters of the universe: Masters champion golfer Phil Mickelson, activist investor Carl Icahn, and sports gambler William Walters. A source says the FBI and SEC are looking into whether Mickelson and Walters may have traded two stocks illegally and what role Icahn may have played in sharing info on one of them: Clorox. Icahn's bid for Clorox in 2011 had sent the stock soaring. But legal experts say Icahn may not have broken the law even if he had leaked tips about his plans regarding Clorox. Clorox rejected his bid, and he's not a Clorox director, so experts say he has no duty to Clorox shareholders. Prosecutors would have to show that Icahn had breached a duty of confidentiality by disclosing nonpublic information that was later traded on. On top of all that, news of the probe got leaked to the media, so that derailed the government's plans to use wiretaps, according to the Wall Street Journal. The allegations come amid a multi-year crackdown on insider trading. Mickelson said he's done nothing wrong. Icahn says he hasn't given out inside information and is unaware of the probe. Walters hasn't responded to requests for comment. The source says the three men have not been accused of any wrongdoing.