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Billionaire Carl Icahn dumps $31 million in steel-related stocks before White House tariff talks

Billionaire Carl Icahn dumps $31 million in steel-related stocks before White House tariff talks
Billionaire Carl Icahn, pictured in 2007, dumped $31.3 million in steel-related stock days before the White House announced intentions to impose steep tariffs on steel imports. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

President Trump’s billionaire friend Carl Icahn dumped $31.3 million in steel-related stock days before the White House announced intentions to impose steep tariffs on steel imports.

In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Icahn disclosed that he sold off nearly 1 million shares of Manitowoc Co. Inc., a Wisconsin-based global crane manufacturer.

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The liberal-leaning Think Progress policy website first reported on the filing Friday.

Wall Street has reeled since Trump’s announcement Thursday that he planned to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum.

Manitowoc stock tanked, losing roughly 6% of its value.

Icahn unloaded his shares of the crane company on Feb.12, days before the Commerce Department released a report recommending the tariffs that Trump later championed.

Icahn was not immediately available for comment.

The wealthy investor was floated as the president’s first choice for Treasury secretary, and then-candidate Trump invoked his name often on the campaign trail.

He declined to serve in the Trump administration, but accepted a role as a special advisor on regulation.

Icahn was subpoenaed by federal investigators in November over questions about his position as an informal advisor to the administration.

The 81-year-old stepped down from the post last summer after Democratic lawmakers argued that his appointment skirted ethics standards and raised concerns about his attempts to influence biofuel policy.

Icahn, one of the richest men in the world with a fortune estimated at $17 billion, owns a majority stake in CVR Refining, an oil refining company.

Democrats said he made no attempt to separate himself from his business interests while advising the Trump administration.

Icahn denied any wrongdoing or conflict.

“I never had a formal position with your administration nor a policymaking role,” he wrote to Trump at the time of his resignation. “And contrary to the insinuations of a handful of your Democratic critics, I never had access to nonpublic information or profited from my position, nor do I believe that my role presented conflicts of interest.”

Icahn told CNBC on Thursday that he was not worried by Trump’s talk of a trade war, adding that he was more concerned with interest rates and inflation.

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“I’m not concerned about a trade war,” Icahn said. “I think the major thing you have to worry about and think about is creeping inflation.”

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