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Phil Mickelson's role in insider-trading probe 'overstated,' New York Times reports

Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson checks his yardage book during the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open on Thursday.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson did not trade in the shares of Clorox just as the billionaire investor Carl Icahn was seeking an unsolicited takeover bid for the company in 2011, and the FBI has told Mickelson that he will not face any criminal charges for insider trading, according to the New York Times.

"...the F.B.I. and the Securities and Exchange Commission have found no evidence that Mr. Mickelson traded Clorox shares," The Times said. "The overstated scope of the investigation came from information provided to The Times by other people briefed on the matter who have since acknowledged making a mistake."

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mickelson was part of an investigation by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission into insider trading on stocks, including Clorox. The New York Times made similar claims about Mickelson's involvement in the investigation as well.

However, the Times on Thursday reported that while billionaire investor Carl Icahn and sports gambler William Walters remain under investigation, Mickelson's involvement was overstated. Mickelson still faces an investigation over separate trades made in Dean Foods in 2012 just before the company’s stock took off, the Times said. Since the story first became public, Mickelson has denied any wrongdoing.

"An F.B.I. agent, two of the people briefed on the matter said, has informed Mr. Mickelson that the government is seeking information from him about Mr. Walters and has no plans to criminally charge him," the Times said.

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Authorities have approached Mickelson twice, once at an airport in September and once after finishing his opening round at The Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. At the airport, according to the Times, Mickelson said he would cooperate in an investigation, but said he did not know Icahn and didn't know stock tips received from Walters might have been improper.

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