The insider trading investigation of Carl Icahn, Phil Mickelson, and William Walters has already run into trouble. Mainly, the investigation is now public, so the SEC and FBI cannot use some of their usual tactics, like wiretapping, to gather evidence.
Authorities believe that Icahn tipped off Walters, who then tipped off Mickelson, to Icahn's planned takeover bid for Clorox in 2011. There is a chance that this could have been done legally, as long as Icahn did not break the confidence of his own investors. There is not enough information to determine if this occurred yet and at the rate the investigation is going, there might never be.
Authorities were planning on wiretapping all three parties, and were in the process of "other types of electronic and human surveillance." Authorities also ran into trouble when they considered wiretapping Icahn. He owns a stake in the telecommunications company they would need to tap, so keeping it a secret from him would have nearly impossible.
All three men insist they did nothing wrong, and Mickelson in particular just wants to focus on his golf game. Even though Phil may be dealing with questions from the FBI, SEC, and the media, he said that golf-wise, "it wasn't a bad week." Mickelson is focusing on this week's St. Jude Classic, the last event before the U.S. Open begins on June 12.
"I had, I thought, a successful week as far as a good stepping stone," said Mickelson, "Next week is when I have to put it together and play well. If I can play well, get in contention, it will give me some momentum for the Open. That's what I need to do."
As for his Clorox trading Mickelson said in a statement, “I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.