DUBLIN, Oho -- Five-time PGA major winner Phil Mickelson says he's cooperating in an insider trading investigation involving him, investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters but maintains he did nothing wrong.
Mickelson's manager confirmed Saturday that the investigation was the same outlined in reports in several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper, citing people briefed on the probe, reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into whether Mickelson and Walters traded nonpublic information they allegedly received from Icahn about his investments in public companies. The FBI and SEC are reviewing the trading patterns of both Mickelson and Walters as part of an investigation that began three years ago when Icahn made a $10.2 billion offer for Clorox that caused the stock to jump, the report said.
"I have done absolutely nothing wrong," Mickelson said in a statement early Saturday morning, hours after playing in the second round of the Memorial Tournament. "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."
The Justice Department and SEC declined to comment.
According to the Journal, two FBI agents approached Mickelson after his opening round at the Memorial tournament Thursday in Dublin, Ohio, to discuss the investigation. Mickelson told them to speak to his attorney. FBI agents also spoke to Mickelson last year at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey about his trading, according to The New York Times.
Icahn denied knowledge of the probe, telling the Journal, "We do not know of any investigation. We are always very careful to observe all legal requirements in all of our activities."According to the Journal, Icahn and Walters have a past friendship. Mickelson and Walters, meanwhile, play golf together, and on occasion Walters has suggested stocks for Mickelson to consider buying, the newspaper reported, citing a person familiar with their relationship. Icahn says he doesn't know Mickelson.
Mickelson shot 72 and 70 in the opening two rounds of the Memorial and is tied for 37th. He teed off Saturday morning in the third round.
Mickelson, 43, is second to Tiger Woods in career earnings on the PGA Tour, with $73.7 million in official prize money in his 22-year career. But he is also a prolific earner off the course; Golf Digest reported that Mickelson had $45 million in endorsement income in 2013.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Mickelson cooperating in probe