Phil Takes Relief: Paying Back SEC In Insider Trading Case

Chris Isidore and Ahiza Garcia of CNN Money have one of the better, more coherent reads on the particulars of the SEC-Mickelson suit which also involved criminal charges for his friend Billy Walters.

From the story:

"The complaint does not assert that Phil Mickelson violated the securities laws in any way. On that point, Phil feels vindicated," said the statement released by his attorney, former White House counsel Gregory Craig. "At the same time, however, Phil has no desire to benefit from any transaction that the SEC sees as questionable."

The SEC complaint cites a July 2012 conversation he had with Walters. According to the SEC, Mickelson and Walters were friends, and the golfer owed the gambler for bets.

Walters had insider information from Davis about an upcoming spin-off Dean Food (DF)was planning, and Walters advised Mickelson to buy its stock, according to the complaint.

Mickelson allegedly bought $2.4 million worth of the stock the next day, dwarfing his total stock holdings of $250,000. When the stock rose in price, Mickelson was able to sell it at a $931,000 profit and pay off his bets with the proceeds of the trade, according to the SEC.

At the moment all of Mickelson's sponsors are standing by him and he's taking responsibility, according to the story:

"Phil understands and deeply respects the high professional and ethical standards that the companies he represents expect of Phil. He regrets any appearance that, on this occasion, he fell short," said his statement. "He takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation."

Most interesting to me is the way in which the story broke as a suit by the SEC with the implication of an impending saga, when my reading of this story suggests the suit had already been settled. This may be part of the deterrent process, which is ultimately the point of the Martha Stewart style cases.