FBI agent leaked details about Phil Mickelson insider trading case

Mickelson returns $931,000 profit on stock sale
Mickelson returns $931,000 profit on stock sale

An FBI agent is being investigated by the Department of Justice after he admitted to leaking information to reporters about an insider trading case involving golfer Phil Mickelson.

While Mickelson was never charged with any wrongdoing himself, he did have to pay the roughly $1 million that he earned on an insider stock tip to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mickelson benefited from the wrongdoing of others -- specifically the legendary sports gambler William Walters, who gave Mickelson inside information.

Walters was charged in May along with Thomas Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods. The case claims that Davis shared insider information with Walters, who in turn shared it with Mickelson. The pro golfer owed Walters for bets he'd made.

In September, Walters requested a hearing to look at whether there was government misconduct in his case. Now he's using the news of the FBI leak to support his request for a hearing.

Related: Five famous insider trading cases

U.S. attorney Preet Bharara revealed the FBI leak in a letter on Friday, but the government maintains that there's no need for a hearing on any government misconduct.

"A special agent with the [FBI] admitted that he was a significant source of confidential information leaked to reporters at both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times," Bharara wrote.

According to the letter, the agent initially covered up the leak, but "it is now an incontrovertible fact that there were FBI leaks."

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times published articles about the insider trading case in May and June of 2014. Those articles "led to the indictment," according to Bharara's letter. The Times and the Journal both refused to comment.

According to an SEC complaint filed in May, Dean Foods was planning a spin-off, and Walters told Mickelson to buy stock in the company. Mickelson bought $2.4 million worth of stock, which he then sold. He made $931,000 in profit, which he used to pay off his bets. He was forced to pay back the money to the SEC, along with $105,000 in interest.

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