Donald Trump

Trump’s billionaire buddy Carl Icahn dumped steel-related stocks days before tariff talks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 March, 2018, 10:51am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 12:05pm

President Trump’s billionaire buddy Carl Icahn dumped US$31.3 million in steel-related stock days before the White House announced its intention to impose steep tariffs on steel imports.

In a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Icahn disclosed that he sold nearly 1 million shares of Manitowoc Company, a Wisconsin-based global crane manufacturer.

The left-wing Think Progress policy website first reported on the filing on Friday.

Wall Street reeled in recent days after Trump’s announcement regarding a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium.

Manitowoc stock fell sharply, losing roughly 6 per cent of its value.

Icahn unloaded his shares of the crane company on February 12, days before the Commerce Department released a report recommending the tariffs that Trump later championed.

Icahn was not immediately available for comment.

The ultra-wealthy investor was floated as the president’s first choice for Treasury secretary and while campaigning for president, Trump mentioned his name often.

He declined to serve in the Trump administration, but accepted a role as a special adviser on regulation.

Icahn was subpoenaed by federal investigators in November over questions about his position as an informal adviser to the administration.

The 81-year-old stepped down from the post last summer after Democratic lawmakers argued that his appointment skirted ethics standards and raised concerns about his attempts to influence biofuel policy.

Icahn, who is worth an estimated US$17 billion, owns a majority stake in CVR Refining, an oil company.

Democrats claimed he made no attempt to separate himself from his business interests while working with the Trump administration.

Icahn denied any wrongdoing or conflicts of interest.

“I never had a formal position with your administration nor a policymaking role,” he wrote to Trump at the time of his resignation. “And contrary to the insinuations of a handful of your Democratic critics, I never had access to non-public information or profited from my position, nor do I believe that my role presented conflicts of interest.”

Icahn told CNBC on Thursday that he was not worried by Trump’s talk of a trade war, saying he was more concerned about interest rates and inflation.

“I’m not concerned about a trade war,” Icahn said. “I think the major thing you have to worry about and think about is creeping inflation.”