A US federal investigation has been launched into whether golfer Phil Mickelson and a high-stakes gambler received illegal stock tips from billionaire investor Carl Icahn.
Reports on Friday said the FBI and US Securities and Exchange Commission were probing the stock trading patterns of Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler William "Billy" Walters, alleging they may had received inside information from Icahn about his investment plans.
Mickelson said he was cooperating with the investigation but maintained he did nothing wrong. Mickelson's manager confirmed the investigation was the same outlined in the reports on Friday.
The probe is focused in particular on investments the men made in the cleaning products maker Clorox. Icahn's company made a takeover bid for Clorox in 2011 that caused the price of the company's stock to jump. His bid was ultimately rebuffed and prices dropped.
Walters and Mickelson each made very well-timed trades in the company during this period.
This led investigators to probe whether they were acting on information Icahn gave them about the takeover attempt, the US newspapers reported.
Insider trading - profiting on the stock market from inside information not available to the general investing public - is illegal.
However, it is not yet clear whether Mickelson or Walters were acting on information given to them by Icahn, or, if they were, whether Icahn shared any information illegally.
The investigators are also looking into Mickelson's and Walters's trading related to another company, Dean Foods.
The SEC and FBI refused to comment on the case.
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press