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Frist wanted to sell shares earlier
Paper says senator approached accountant and officials months ahead of HCA earnings warning.
October 3, 2005: 9:33 AM EDT
Tennessee Senator Bill Frist
Tennessee Senator Bill Frist

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Tennessee Senator Bill Frist was looking to unload shares of hospital operator HCA Inc. months before the company gave warning of any financial difficulties, according to a news report published Saturday.

Citing an email and the draft of a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee, the Wall Street Journal reported that Frist was attempting to sell all HCA stock over two months before the company issued an earnings warning on July 19.

Frist is under investigation for insider trading by both the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Department of Justice for his sale of HCA stock on June 13.

Shares of HCA (Research) fell nine percent after the warning was issued, the paper reported.

The email, dated April 29, was addressed to his personal accountant requesting the sale of all hospital stocks he owned, according to the paper. The letter to the Senate, which requested permission to sell all HCA and HCA-affiliated shares, was dated May 20.

The sale of HCA shares by six employees in early June sparked the investigation, according to the Journal.

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