Golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler William Walters are being investigated by the FBI over a possible insider trading involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn.
The inquiry is reportedly examining whether Phil Mickelson and William Walters may have traded shares illegally, based on information provided by Carl Icahn.
Phil Mickelson’s lawyers say he is not the target of an investigation.
Carl Icahn, 78, denies giving insider information. William Walters has not yet commented.
Phil Mickelson, 43, has won five major championships and is one of the US’s highest-paid sportsmen.
Phil Mickelson has won five major championships and is one of the US’s highest-paid sportsmen
The FBI, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors in Manhattan, are said to be looking into trading in two different stocks.
The investigation, which began three years ago, is focusing on trades in cleaning products company Clorox.
Carl Icahn, a billionaire investor and prominent activist, was mounting a takeover bid for Clorox around the time that Phil Mickelson and William Walters placed their trades, the New York Times reports.
“We do not know of any investigation,” Carl Icahn told Reuters news agency, saying he was proud of his 50-year “unblemished record”.
Investigators are also reportedly looking into trades that Phil Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, and William Walters made relating to Dean Foods, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The New York Times quotes sources saying federal authorities are looking into trades placed in August 2012 just before the company announced quarterly results.
Those trades appeared to have no connection to Carl Icahn, the newspaper added.
The FBI and other federal agencies have not commented publicly on the allegations.
None of the men have been directly accused of any wrongdoing.
The board of Dell has recommended that shareholders should accept an offer led by the company’s founder Michael Dell to take the firm private.
It called on shareholders to approve his $24.4 billion buyout offer at a vote on July 18.
The board said it was the “best alternative available”.
Investor Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management – who own a combined 12% of Dell – oppose the buyout and have made an alternative offer.
Michael Dell and private equity group Silver Lake have offered $13.65 per share in cash to shareholders in return for taking the company private, which would see the company delisted from the stock exchange.
The offer price values Dell 37% higher in terms of market capitalization than in January, before Michael Dell’s buyout plan emerged.
Michael Dell has pledged to shift the business away from PCs into mobile devices and business software.
“A sale to the Michael Dell/Silver Lake group… is the best alternative available,” the board wrote in an open letter to shareholders on Friday.
The board of Dell has recommended that shareholders should accept an offer led by the company’s founder Michael Dell to take the firm private
“In a challenging business environment it offers certainty and a very material premium over pre-announcement trading prices.
“Having conducted a thorough and probing review of Dell’s challenges and opportunities, we believe that the risks and uncertainty of a standalone public company are high and that the transaction we have negotiated offers superior value for Dell stockholders.”
Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management have offered an alternative that would give Dell shareholders $12 per share in cash or additional shares. While this is a lower figure than Michael Dell’s offer, it would allow investors to retain their stake in the company.
A committee of Dell board members evaluating this offer has said it needs more information.
Dell has seen its profits fall amid declining sales of personal computers as more consumers shift to smartphones and tablets.
The 18 of July shareholders’ meeting will take place at Dell’s headquarters in Texas.