Phil Mickelson, playing in the Memorial tournament this weekend, has released a statement saying that he has "absolutely" done nothing wrong and is cooperating with investigators who are looking into the trading of stock involving investor Carl Icahn, gambler Billy Walters and the golf star.
The Wall Street Journal and other media organizations have reported that the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are particularly interested in Mickelson's and Walters' trading of Clorox stock in 2011, when Icahn acquired more than 9% of the stock before attempting to take over the company, driving up its value before he cashed out.
The FBI and SEC are reportedly looking into whether Icahn passed along information to Walters, who might have given a tip to Mickelson. The five-time major champion told reporters on Saturday that he was contacted by FBI agents on Thursday following his opening round at Muirfield Village Golf Course in Dublin, Ohio.
Reports also said the investigation is looking into 2012 trades made by Mickelson and Walters for stock of Dean Foods Co.
Said Mickelson in his statement: “I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so. I wish I could fully discuss this matter, but under the current circumstances it's just not possible.”
Icahn, who made a $10.2 billion offer for Clorox, has a net worth more of than $20 billion, according to Forbes, making him one of the 20 wealthiest Americans. The 78-year-old is known as a corporate raider who buys undervalued companies and quickly turns them around for profit.
Mickelson, who shot even-par 72 on Saturday and is more than 10 shots off the pace of leader Bubba Watson, addressed the issue after his third round.
"I can’t really go into much right now, but as I’ve said in my statement, I have done absolutely nothing wrong," Mickelson told reporters. "And that’s why I’ve been fully cooperating with the FBI agents and I’m happy to do so in the future, too, until this gets resolved, but for right now, and hopefully it will be soon, but for right now I really can’t talk much about it.
"I think that as a player you have to be able to block out whatever is going on off the course. It’s not going to change the way I carry myself. Honestly, I haven’t done anything wrong and I’m not going to walk around any other way."