Carl Icahn denies he knew about tariffs before selling Manitowoc stock

Trump official: Tariffs won't hurt the economy
Trump official: Tariffs won't hurt the economy

President Donald Trump's longtime friend and business partner Carl Icahn is out to quash speculation that he used his White House connections for insider trading.

Icahn sold more than $30 million worth of his stake in Manitowoc, a company heavily dependent on steel, just days before Trump's tariff announcement sent its stock price tumbling. Last week, several media outlets wrote about the sell-off.

Icahn did not immediately comment on the media reports. But on Wednesday, he broke his silence.

"We don't generally comment on rumors, but the recent media speculation regarding our sale of Manitowoc stock calls for a response," Icahn's investment firm said in a statement. "We state for the record: Any suggestion that we had prior knowledge of the Trump administration's announcement of new tariffs on steel imports is categorically untrue."

Related: U.S. Steel is bringing back 500 workers, but tariffs could cost thousands of jobs

A public filing shows Icahn began offloading shares of Manitowoc Company (MTW), which relies on steel to manufacture construction cranes, on February 12. His firm continued dumping the stock through February 22 for sale prices between $32.47 and $34.31.

"We reduced our position in Manitowoc for legitimate investment reasons," Icahn's Wednesday statement reads.

When Trump announced on March 1 a plan to levy a new 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff for aluminum, it rattled markets around the globe.

Manitowoc's stock price plunged nearly 6% on the day of the announcement. It's currently trading around $27 per share.

But the company's stock performance wasn't stellar before Trump's announcement. Manitowoc's stock price fell 32% between January 26 and February 28.

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