Regulators tracked Clorox deal for years

A series of winning stock trades in the summer of 2011, caught the eyes of regulators, who went on to probe the deals for insider trading.

The suspected players, a cross-section of investors including championship golfer Phil Mickelson and high-rolling gambler and golf-course owner William T Walters benefited to the tune of several million dollars betting on the consumer-products company Clorox and another stock, The New York Times reported citing people briefed on the matter, who spoke anonymously as they were not authorised to discuss the investigation.

The trades options contracts for Clorox stock came only a few days ahead of billionaire investor Carl C Icahn announcing an unsolicited takeover bid for the company that drove up the stock price.

Also the bets came not only from Mickelson but also from at least one other investor connected to Walters and the golfing world, according to one of the people briefed on the matter. That investor according to another person, was now under investigation.

While the earlier reported details as regards the size and scope of the trading, followed a day after a federal insider-trading investigation came to light, according to commentators, the details might support the government's position.

As federal authorities examine whether the Clorox bid had been leaked by Icahn to Walters, the people said, a theory that Walters might have passed the information to Mickelson was being explored.

Meanwhile, The Chicago Tribune reported that if golf star Phil Mickelson was concerned over a federal probe into possible insider trading involving him, billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William Walters, it did not show on him Saturday as he hit engaged in a light hearted exchange with fellow US golfer Robert Garrigus.

On Friday night, a source familiar with the matter said the FBI and the US Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating the possibility of his involvement in insider trading along with Icahn and Walters.

The source told Reuters federal investigators were probing whether Mickelson and Walters might have traded illegally on private information provided by Icahn about his investments in public corporations.

According to the source none of the three men had been accused of any wrongdoing.

In a statement on Saturday, the 43 year old, three-times Masters champion and winner of 42 tournaments on the PGA Tour said: "I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so."