Billionaire Talisman investor Carl Icahn and US golfer Phil Mickelson are at the centre of an FBI insider trading probe.
The winner of five major championships said he has done “absolutely nothing wrong” after confirming that FBI agents investigating insider trading approached him at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
A federal official briefed on the investigation said he FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are analysing trades Mr Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters made involving Clorox at the same time activist investor Mr Icahn was attempting to take over the company.
Smiling as he stood before a room packed with reporters and cameras, Mr Mickelson – who will Play the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen next month – said the investigation had not been a distraction until FBI agents approached him after his opening round on Thursday.
He did not offer any other details, including his relationship with Mr Walters or any stock advice he might have received.
He said it would not affect his preparations for the US Open in two weeks, the only major he lacks for the career Grand Slam.
“It’s not going to change the way I carry myself,” Mickelson said after an even-par 72 at Muirfield Village left him far behind the leaders.
“Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”
The federal official told the AP that Mickelson and Walters placed their trades at about the same time in 2011.
Federal investigators are looking into whether Mr Icahn shared information of his takeover attempt of Clorox with Walters, and whether Walters passed that information to Mickelson.
The New York offices of the US Attorney and the FBI declined to comment.