Mickelson on federal probe: 'I have done nothing wrong'
DUBLIN, Ohio – After his third round Saturday, Phil Mickelson stuck to his statement that he has done “nothing wrong” and offered little to clarify his involvement with federal investigators regarding an ongoing probe of possible insider trading by billionaire Carl Icahn; William “Billy” Walters, a Las Vegas bettor; and Mickelson.
“I have done absolutely nothing wrong,” Mickelson reiterated after his even-par round of 72. “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 can't really talk much about it.”
In a report by The Wall Street Journal on Friday evening, the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission is said to be investigating suspicious trades in Clorox Co. by Walters and Mickelson as corporate raider Icahn was trying to gain seats on the Clorox board in 2011.
According to the Journal, investigators also are looking into trades by Mickelson and Walters related to Dean Foods Co.
The New York Times cited people briefed on the investigation that the probe is looking into trades that took place in 2012, just before the food-and-beverage company announced quarterly results.
"I have done absolutely nothing wrong," Mickelson said early Saturday morning in a statement. "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."
On Thursday after his first round of the Memorial Tournament, Mickelson was interviewed about the probe, according to the Journal.
“After the round they followed me just like the (Journal) article said,” Mickelson said of his the FBI agents. “It was accurate.”
According to Mickelson’s attorney, Glenn Cohen of Jacksonville, Fla., Mickelson is not the focus of any investigation.
"Phil is not the target of any investigation. Period," Cohen told the Journal. Cohen told the Journal that an FBI agent told Cohen that Mickelson was not a target of the probe. The FBI would not comment on Cohen's statement, according to the Journal.
Mickelson would not comment on a report that the FBI had interviewed him sometime last year at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.
“I really don't want to add anything to that,” Mickelson said when asked if he had met with officials before this week on the probe.
Mickelson confirmed that the incident had not been a distraction until Thursday and that he didn’t think about withdrawing Saturday, nor will he change his immediate schedule of playing next week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic or the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in two weeks.
Icahn said he was proud of his 50-year unblemished record and has never given out insider information.
The billionaire also said he had not met Mickelson.
Walters and Mickelson play golf together, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters.
None of the three men in the current probe have been accused of any wrongdoing, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters.