Phil Mickelson Releases Statement on FBI Investigation

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2014

Phil Mickelson reacts after making double bogey on the 17th hole during the first round of the Memorial golf tournament Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Updates from Thursday, June 12

Matthew Goldstein and Ben Protess of The New York Times provide details from the investigation surrounding Phil Mickelson:

Phil Mickelson, the famed golfer, did not trade in the shares of Clorox just as the billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn was mounting an unsolicited takeover bid for the company in 2011, say four people briefed on the matter.

Recent reports in The New York Times and other news organizations said that Clorox was among the stocks that federal authorities were examining as part of a two-year investigation into well-timed trades made by Mr. Mickelson and the sports gambler William T. Walters. Initially, authorities pursued a theory that Mr. Icahn shared private details of his Clorox bid with Mr. Walters, who then traded on the information and passed on the tip to Mr. Mickelson.

ESPN reports that while Mickelson has been cleared of one investigation, another still looms:

Mickelson remains under investigation over well-timed trades involving Dean Foods stock that netted him nearly $1 million, according to New York Times sources.


As far as Dean Foods, the New York Times reported that authorities are pursuing a theory that a source tipped Walters off about the company's plan to offer its WhiteWave Foods subsidiary in an initial public offering in 2012. It is unclear what prompted Walters and Mickelson to trade; however, shares of Dean Foods went up 41 percent the day after the company officially announced the news. Icahn is not connected to the Dean Foods trading.

Updates from Saturday, May 31

ESPN's staff, in addition to the Associated Press, provides a statement from Phil Mickelson discussing the FBI investigation:

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.

Original Text

According to TMZ, Phil Mickelson's lawyer refutes reports that Mickelson is the target of an investigation:

After reports surfaced that federal investigators are looking into his trading history to see if he was involved in any Martha Stewart-esque style illegal activity over the past 3 years, Mickelson's lawyer issued a statement saying Phil is not n the FBI's crosshairs.

"Phil is not the target of any investigation," Mickelson's attorney Glenn Cohen said.

Susan Pulliam and Michael Rothfeld of The Wall Street Journal previously reported Mickelson was being investigated for insider-trading activity, via Market Watch:

Federal investigators are pursuing a major insider-trading probe involving finance, gambling and sports, examining the trading of investor Carl Icahn, golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas bettor William “Billy” Walters.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are examining whether Mickelson and Walters traded illicitly on nonpublic information from Icahn about his investments in public companies, people briefed on the probe said.

Reuters passed along some similar details:

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating possible insider trading involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn, golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler William Walters, a source familiar with the matter said. 

Mickelson is currently playing in the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, and Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post painted a rather serious scene during the proceedings there:

Pulliam and Rothfeld reported that investigators are examining the past three years of activity with this given group of people. They are attempting to determine whether Icahn tipped Walters, who just so happens to be notable in Las Vegas for his sports betting, about investments by Icahn’s company.

Reportedly, part of the investigation is whether Walters passed a tip to Mickelson. The trading patterns of the two men are being studied as well to try to glean any further information.

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

“We do not know of any investigation," Icahn said, per Pulliam and Rothfeld. "We are always very careful to observe all legal requirements in all of our activities.”

Icahn said suggestions that he was involved in improper trading were "inflammatory and speculative."

In the same report, Glenn Cohen, who is a lawyer for Mickelson, noted that an FBI agent told Mickelson that the golfer was not a target.

Mickelson is currently shooting two-under par through the first two rounds of the Memorial Tournament and is 10 shots off the lead.