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Mickelson to return 'ill-gotten' profit

Do Not UseDo Not Use 20/05/2016
Golfer Phil Mickelson signs an autograph © Getty Images Golfer Phil Mickelson signs an autograph

Golfer Phil Mickelson will return $931,000 in profits linked to an insider trading scheme.

Mr Mickelson said he had no desire to benefit from trading in stock that regulators found questionable.

The SEC alleged that gambler William Walters - a friend of Mr Mickelson - had passed on a trading tip to the golfer.

Mr Walters is alleged to have been given tips about Dean Foods stock from its chairman Thomas Davis.

Prepaid phones

According to the SEC, Mr Davis provided Mr Walters with information on Dean Foods' earnings and plans to spin off a subsidiary called WhiteWave, allowing Mr Walters to net tens of millions of dollars.

The pair used prepaid phones to communicate, and referred to Dean Foods as the "Dallas Cowboys" to try to cover their tracks, the SEC said.

The SEC alleges that in July 2012 Mr Walters urged Mr Mickelson to buy Dean Foods stock, which he did through brokers. Mr Mickelson owed Mr Walters money at the time.

About a week later, Dean Foods stock price jumped 40% after announcements about the WhiteWave spin-off and strong second quarter results.

Mr Mickelson was named as a "relief defendant" in the SEC suit. He is not accused of participating in insider trading, but of receiving money as a result of the scheme.

He will repay the money, plus more than $100,000 interest, the SEC said.

In a statement released through his attorney, Mr Mickelson said he takes "full responsibility" for having become part of the SEC probe.

Mr Mickelson, who has won three Masters golf titles, added that he appreciated that the companies he represents had decided to continue their sponsorship agreements with him.

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